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Nancy Schimelpfening

Is It SSRI Withdrawal Syndrome?

By February 14, 2005

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Are you dealing with the symptoms of SSRI withdrawal syndrome? If you recently stopped taking an SSRI antidepressant - for example, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro or Celexa - and you are having such symptoms as upset stomach, tiredness, achy muscles, sleeplessness, anxiety, dizziness, blurred vision, hallucinations, irritability, sweating, strange or vivid dreams, tingling or electric shock sensations then you could be.† Tapering off your medication slowly is ideal, but some will experience these uncomfortable symptoms no matter how slowly they taper.

If you'd like to learn more about how others have handled SSRI withdrawal syndrome or you like to share your experiences, please visit the comments below.† There are currently hundreds of comments related to this topic.

 

Comments
March 23, 2007 at 5:56 pm
(1) Trish says:

So far in all that I’ve read I haven’t seen anything about the physical pain of withdrawal. I have a constant muscle soreness and also an all over tenderness similar to how I feel after suffering from a migraine. I am so pleased to read about the brain shivers as I was really starting to feel that I was going crazy. The most irritating thing to me is that my doctor never mentioned the withdrawal problems. At the time of being diagnosed I was deperate and in need of ‘something’ to help. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference to whether I took Effexor or not but it would have been nice to have been informed.

June 29, 2011 at 8:54 am
(2) Connie Berg says:

I have been off effexor for 3 weeks now and the pain in intense. I have a hard time functioning on some days because it not only hurts to move but just my cloths touching me is painful. I also shiver all the time like I am freezing but I am not cold. I do not knowohow much longer I can stand this it am waiting for the docltor to fill the prescription now so hopefully it will be over soon. I

July 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm
(3) Keith says:

Thanks Connie,

You confirmed that I am not going crazy. Same exact symptoms. I am at about 2 months and still having effects. Stopped cold turkey on doctor’s orders. I can’t believe the FDA approved this drug. I can’t believe my Doctor didn’t warn me about what to expect. Good Luck

September 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm
(4) Andria says:

Has anyone ever tried using oxycotin to combat the side effects?

April 11, 2007 at 5:23 pm
(5) chel says:

The brain shivers feel like crashing symbols going off in my brain. I am down to 37.5mg of effexor every other day. I am taking relacore (totally natural) and it does seem to help a little. What about switching to Paxil? Someone I know takes that and has success with it. Any comments?

July 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(6) al says:

DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!! The first antidepressant I was prescribed was Paxil and of course the withdrawal was not mentioned. After being on it for 3 years I had gained roughly 40 lbs, had INSANE mood swings, a suicide attempt and absolutely no libido. The withdrawal was even worse than the withdrawal from effexor (which I have just stopped taking). The withdrawal from the effexor has been brutal (brain shivers/zaps, nausea, severe headaches, overall soreness, distorted taste) but withdrawal from paxil is much worse.

April 14, 2007 at 6:55 pm
(7) Cathy says:

My last Paxil was on 4-21-06. My suffering is big time — the mental anguish started in the 6th month post-Paxil — crushing anxiety, depression akathesia, insomnia. This last for two months, then let up a bit, and now in the past month worse than ever. This poison was prescribed for extremely mild anxiety that could have been alleviated by therapy easily. My doctor had to talk me into this and she did a good job. Whatever good Paxil did for me it went downhill after two years — or less if you want to count my increasing loss of interest things that were very important to me all my life, such as reading — simply couldn’t concentrate. Every time my doctor would see me for a checkup she would ask how I was and I told her my symptoms and she would say it’s just depression, say on the Paxil. There’s a lot more, but I mainly post on Paxilprogress.org. I will say that if I hadn’t found this site I would have committed suicide by now. Oh, and I should mention that pre-Paxil I was never, ever suicidal!!

April 19, 2007 at 7:03 pm
(8) Dee says:

I had been taking Prozac for the last seven years for severe PMDD. A family illness added so much stress to my life that my GP switched me to Effexor two months ago. Some of the side effects were bearable, but most were not (Prozac had already taken its toll on my ability to sleep, and Effexor just made it that much worse). So, without the help of my doctor (who mentioned nothing about the side-effects or withdrawal hassles with the drug) I’ve started to wean myself from the drug. Over the last 4 weeks I have decreased my dosage from 150 to 75 to 37.5, and today was the first day Effexor free. I feel like crap (I have for the last 3 weeks), but this last week has resulted in what my research tells me is called “brain shivers.” I call it the brain flip-flops, but it’s murder to deal with. This brain vertigo is on top of the nausea, headaches, and night sweats, and I’m a bit disheartened to read that this sensation may be due to permanent brain changes. I hope not, but I’m of a mind to make an appointment with my GP just to hand him the articles I’ve read in the last days about Effexor and its withdrawal symptoms. I may not be able to remain anti-depressent free (yet to be seen), but Effexor will never cross my lips again.

July 21, 2011 at 1:49 am
(9) Daphne says:

I so feel your pain, and thank you so much for posting. I am in my third week off of Prozac followed by Celexa. I feel awful, but I do have a yoga practice, thank God.
I just refuse to believe those “permanent” brain changes are permanent. I know for a fact that the practice of yoga will heal even antideppressant withdrawal. Be well.

May 14, 2007 at 10:18 am
(10) Olivene Robbins says:

I took Lexapro for 9 weeks for depression. I decided I did not like the lethargic feeling that I had. Previously I had been high energy and always ready to get up in the morning and get going. While on Lexapro, all I wanted to do was sleep. My feelings were flat line…neither happy or sad. Had a hard time getting out of bed and could not get started til I had my 10 mg. pill.. I felt this terrible heaviness in my body until I had my medication. I tried to taper off by taking 1/2 pill for a week and then stopping completely. I have been completely off now for one week and 2 days. I still have hot flashes, night sweats and dizziness. How long will this last. I feel very hostile toward everyone and everything. Very agitated..restless. THis morning was the first morning in a long time, however, that I did not feel that heaviness in my body when I got out of bed. Maybe that is a good sign that these symptoms are easing up. I certainly hope so. Why don’t these doctors tell you of these withdrawals when they so freely prescribe this medication. If anyone has any comments or advice for me…please email me. thanks…

April 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(11) Amanda says:

I just found your post on the internet about your hostility on comming of of your medication. I recently have come off Celexa and amd feeling the same. Towards my husband and even when my son accidentally kicked me. I’m really hopeing this is a side affect of the withdrawal, but was wondering if it was so for you and how long it took to go away. I just really hope this isn’t me and is just the withdrawal.

Thanks!

June 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm
(12) patsy says:

i have been on celexa for about 12 weeks and recently come of it cold turkey. I felt very tired at first but now my head feels tight, goosebumps all over and i have fuzzy throat and fuzzy nose. I have been off them 12 days, have you had any of these. thans

May 21, 2007 at 2:31 am
(13) Andrew Turkington says:

Thanks to all the other posters. it’s reassuring know these brain shivers are common. I certainly hope mine clear up with time. I am also tearfull and worse in my feelings of anguish which seem to come out of nowhere, even more so than my pre-treatment state of depression. My doctor did warn me about reducing the dosage slowly, and over the 4-5 months I took the drug I was never on a dose higher than 112 mg. Even at that dose I had three of the most frightening nightmares I have ever experienced in my life. I cut back 35mg over 7-10 days each time. Still, 2 days after my last dose I felt so bad I took a few granules, probabley less than 10 mg., I was awake all night! This is the most powerfull drug I have ever taken. I haven’t taken anything at all for 24 hrs now so we will see how it goes. I cannot imagine what it must be like to take a larger dose for any period of time. It certainly makes you wonder about the drug companies, they must be very aware of this yet there is nothing in their literature that adresses the true prevalance and severity of the adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms. And the psychiatric community remains blandly ignorant, or at least unaware of the severity of the distress associated with taking this drug. And if these symptoms go on after the drug is cleared…

July 21, 2011 at 1:53 am
(14) Daphne says:

To Everyone Withdrawing From an SSRI:
Thank you so much for posting. I am withdrawing too. I am seeing something in common in everyone’s post. This is hell.

TRY YOGA AND MEDITATION.
IT IS HELPING ME MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY.
PEACE…

May 21, 2007 at 2:31 am
(15) Andrew Turkington says:

Thanks to all the other posters. it’s reassuring know these brain shivers are common. I certainly hope mine clear up with time. I am also tearfull and worse in my feelings of anguish which seem to come out of nowhere, even more so than my pre-treatment state of depression. My doctor did warn me about reducing the dosage slowly, and over the 4-5 months I took the drug I was never on a dose higher than 112 mg. Even at that dose I had three of the most frightening nightmares I have ever experienced in my life. I cut back 35mg over 7-10 days each time. Still, 2 days after my last dose I felt so bad I took a few granules, probabley less than 10 mg., I was awake all night! This is the most powerfull drug I have ever taken. I haven’t taken anything at all for 24 hrs now so we will see how it goes. I cannot imagine what it must be like to take a larger dose for any period of time. It certainly makes you wonder about the drug companies, they must be very aware of this yet there is nothing in their literature that adresses the true prevalance and severity of the adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms. And the psychiatric community remains blandly ignorant, or at least unaware of the severity of the distress associated with taking this drug. And if these symptoms go on after the drug is cleared…

June 24, 2007 at 3:18 pm
(16) Dan says:

I’m battling this very thing right now. I call it “The Fuzzies” and at times not only do my fingers and toes “fuzz” but my tongue as well! Talk about weird. When it first occured I was at work. I talked to one of my employers (3 bosses…lol) and she was excited to tell me that the same thing had happened to her! I was very relieved to know that I was not on the brink of death…
Today I have the associated nausea + fuzzies but I soldiering on. Good luck to all of you!

Dan

June 27, 2007 at 10:06 pm
(17) allison says:

There’s some comfort in knowing others are going through this too but man it sucks. I was on Effexor for over 5 years and am trying to go off and am really struggling. I have been a week without it and the worst symptoms for me yet are the constant crying and this other feeling I can only describe as fingernails on a chalkboard underneath my skin. Different from the brain shivers described, which I have also had. I am going to try to sit through it for at least another week but really, this is horrible.

February 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm
(18) Tom says:

I tried to commit suicide when I was coming down off of Effexor in 2006. It is the nastiest type of anti-depressant there is and I’ve been on about 10 different types over the last 15 years. Yikes to Effexor!

July 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm
(19) Keith says:

Tom, “Yikes” Does not cut it. You need to come up with a much stronger word.

July 3, 2007 at 10:46 pm
(20) Jasna says:

Ten years ago a doctor prescribed Prozac. It felt horrible and I started drinking for the first time in my life. Every night to go to sleep. Then I developed Anxiety. Then the doctors switched me to Effexor XR telling me how great it was. My anxiety increased until I could not function at all. The doctors increased the Effexor XR. My anxiety was out of controll. I started taking valium (secretly to calm me down). and kept on drinking. Now I am slowly decreasing Effexor XR with all the symptoms everyone has described. Dizzy, nightmares, fatigue, headaches. I’m almost off all drugs and I’m off doctors that prescribe this. And I’m angry at having been mislead. I now play tennis 4 times a week, and my concentration is SO much better. I’m better as well. Many years have been “stolen” from me because the FDA rushed these medications on the market. I hate to get political, but the pharmaceutical companies were the biggest donators for the Republican elections. And please check out who has major past connections with the Pharmaceutical companies, … Donald Rumsfeld. Google it. It’s only the tip of the iceberg. The only “magic bullett” for me was exercise. I hated it before, but now I love it.

July 8, 2007 at 10:43 pm
(21) Mary Anne says:

I’m on day 5 and have had all the same symptoms. Day 3 so far was my worst day. Brain zaps, nausea, sweating and I am unable to sleep very much. Wish I new if this will ever end. I don’t ever want to take this drug again and a part of me wonders if they knew the side effects and just wanted as many people to take this medication so that it would be so hard for them to come off that the company would never lose any profits with this drug. It is definitly easier to keep taking this drug so to all of you going off I wish you the strength to continue weaning off. I hope I will make it. I have never experienced anything like this and never want to feel this way again. I just hope the outcome will be that I can feel as normal as I possibly can. I have my doubts!! I will continue on. And yes there should be a class action on this one. Good luck to all and I hope these horrible feelings will end soon.

July 9, 2007 at 12:57 pm
(22) Gail says:

It’s good to read these commemts, I am going off Effexor right now. I’m down to 37.5 every other day. It has been nothing but misery and more. In the past 8 years I have been on Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro. So far this has been the WORST withdrawal I have gone through. I never dreamed the physical withdrawals would be so bad. I refuse to give up getting free of these drugs. I want my life back, no more brain zaps, and walking through life feeling nothing. I’m trying epsom salt baths, and lots of Gatorade. These drugs have not been tested enough in my opinion. I would rather live with the anxiety and depression than live with this again.

February 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm
(23) Leslie says:

Gail, how are you doing? I noticed this comment was in 07. I was on 20mg of citalopram for 9 months. I tried going cold turkey & couldn’t handle it so, my doctor had me taper off of citalopram after he started me on 20mg fluoxetine. I have been off citalopram completely now for 2 1/2 months. Now, a couple days ago the dizziness hit me again. I was just starting to think I was in the clear from citalopram. I have an appointment this afternoon with my doctor. I’m wondering if he’ll want to up the fluoxetine & I just don’t know if thats worse, rather than better for me to do. I just need help getting through this dizziness. I can’t do it without something to relieve this. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids under 6, so I just can’t handle the added stress of withdrawal symptoms.

July 12, 2011 at 3:32 am
(24) pat says:

Hi there, i have been off citalpram nearly four weeks now and seem to be having lots of withdrawal symptoms. I had nothing the first week but then ‘bang’. I have had really bad headaches, and funny sensations in head, goosebumps throughtout body, anxiety, and excess sweating, particularly on a morning, this morning my cotton sheets were soaked. Sweating and feeling sick was one of the first symptoms i got when i first took citalopram, so i am hoping that the sweats are the last to go and i’ll be free of withdrawal symptoms. Can anyone help! how long did your symptoms las. thanks x

November 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm
(25) Wendy says:

Today is my 3 mo anniversary being off Celexa I quit it cold turkey after being on it for 8 yrs. All the horrid physical wd symptoms have gone and physically I feel fantastic. What’s left is this crippling depression and anxiety, I call the residue. So many years being numb, not dealing with life’s day to day problems have caught up with me with a vengeance. I’m just wondering if this the way I’m gonna be from now on? I know that sounds kinda stupid but is this really the new me? Does anyone have any long term withdrawl experience they could share? God, I’m really looking for some encouragement because I’m extremely discouraged and frustrated. To make matters worse I was never depressed to begin with, (Dr. prescribed for stress from having 3 babies). I didn’t
even know what a panic attack was and now I live with them regularly. I vacillate between depression and anxiety but there are a few days thrown in-between that seem normal. I wish
someone could just tell me how long I need to hold on for or if I should just throw in the towel and go back on the medication.

August 5, 2011 at 5:22 am
(26) Renee says:

Gail, boy can I relate! I, too, have taken other antidepressants over the years (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft) and don’t recall having major problems going off of them. Effexor withdrawal, however, brought me to my knees. The experience was FAR WORSE than anything I’d encountered before and it’s not an exaggeration to say it ruined my life in many ways.

After enduring “withdrawal hell” for several months, I couldn’t take it anymore. I ended up going back on an antidepressant to STOP the insane nightmare! But there was no way I was going to touch Effexor again. Instead, I began an SSRI with some of the fewest side effects (supposedly), and am only taking the absolute MINIMUM dose required to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.

What makes me sick is the thought that I will now, apparently, have to take this crap for the rest of my life if I want to keep the withdrawal symptoms away. I can’t begin to tell you how FURIOUS this makes me! I think the drug companies that didn’t research these drugs enough should have to pay the life-long prescription bills for people like me who unwantedly have to purchase this poison simply to function. (I was not like this prior to taking Effexor and only had a minor form of depression.) It’s not right!

At the very least, I think it is fair to say a LOT is unknown by doctors and/or drug manufacturers regarding these drugs and the long-term effects on people. Now that we are beginning to see some very serious problems, doctors and the people being prescribed this stuff, need to be made aware of the dangers.

September 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm
(27) barb says:

how long will it be till i get my brain back . effexor is evil , i share all your pain and thank God im not alone , God help us all.

July 22, 2007 at 10:24 pm
(28) jo says:

I began effexor 2 1/2 years ago and now have begun having chest pains. After reading all the side effects I decided to wean myself off the drug. NEVER have I experienced anything like this. I am extremely irritable, my head feels as if it is full of fluff and the electric shocks are on-going. I cry at the drop of a hat and all I want to do is go into my yard. I DESPISE what is happening and what has happened to my nice calm self. I am determined to conquer this but may lose every friend I have in the process. If anyone has any good ideas I am open for advice. I have not had an effexor (it does not deserve a capital letter) in a week and had weaned myself to about 10 of the little pellets a day.

July 23, 2007 at 6:03 pm
(29) laural johnson says:

chest pains , burning under skin and muscle spasms are horrible . how long does this last?

July 28, 2007 at 9:24 am
(30) Sue says:

I am going on my 5th day of no effexor (I did not stop cold turkey). I am mostly feeling the dizziness and brain zaps with some nausea. After reading SO MANY complaints, will it only get worse? Will I always have this now (something permanent)? Unfortunately, I have only found ONE success story!! With that particular one it took a month of the physical symptoms and medical marijuana use to succeed! Im feeling pretty discouraged now and dont know what to do! Does anyone out there have any success stories to add and what it took to succeed? My husband is telling me “See the doctor”……I ask “What would the doctor do??” Are there any solutions? For curiosity sake only,are there actually people that have brought this to the legal system?

July 29, 2007 at 5:05 am
(31) Becky says:

I have been on effexor (you’re right Jo, it does not deserve a capitol letter!) since 2001. Two times I have weaned off (with my GP’s guidance) only to have such severe withdrawal symptoms that I landed in the hospital for a week both times. Skin itching, uncontrollable crying for no reason at ANY given time, sad unpleasant thoughts, no motivation to do anything, were unbearable at times. My doctor’s response to all this? He told me that “Now I know not to allow you to come off of effexor again.” Wow, what a great idea Doc!!! I have tried weaning myself off of it this time, but am not having much success. I will be going to WalGreens very soon with my new written RX for this crap! I had hoped to be free of it, but no such luck! effexor should be labeled “A Lethal Weapon”!!!!!!!!! I hate this!!!!!!!!!

July 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(32) Keith says:

Becky, I know your post is rather old. I’d be curious to know how you are doing. Please get off of it one way or another. I quit cold turkey 2 months ago and still have no relief in site. I went part time at my job to help deal with it. It really ruined my life. BUT, I am going to beat this. I don’t care if I have to fly to Tibet and climb a mountain to look for a fat blind man in a cave to give me the answer, by God, I’m going to beat it. Good Luck (if you still need it)

August 5, 2011 at 12:14 am
(33) Kevin says:

I want to offer some hope and advice to those experiencing
withdrawl symptoms.I recently weaned off Pristiq which is a derivative of Effexor.Had been on various antidepressants for 6 years and decided it was time to try to stop.Reduced dose
gradually over about a month.First 2 weeks after final dose was as miserable as everyone has described,But after 3 weeks
the brain zaps , nausea , and headaches are starting to subside.The key for me has been exercise and a committment
to be off these drugs.Only remaining mental challenge is I’m
becoming a little paranoid.Had a heart attack 3 years ago and
once that’s happened ,it’s always in the back of your mind.
Since I’ve been off Pristiq , I think about the possibility of
another one a lot more frequently.Hope that paranoia subsides
in time like the physical withdrawl symptoms have.For all those suffering , it does get better with time.

August 5, 2011 at 4:24 am
(34) Renee says:

Keith,

I ran across your entry and noticed it was fairly recent. I TRIED to post my own Effexor “withdrawl hell” story to share with you (and others) as someone who has been there, but apparently got a little too wordy…lol. I will have to try and cut the story size down and try again. Might be easier to just email it…lol.

August 6, 2011 at 4:53 am
(35) Renee says:

Okay, I just posted my story underneath JOCIE’s entry, below, if you’re interested. I couldn’t cut it down enough for one entry so just put it into two…lol.

October 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(36) martha says:

keith, just read your note, I too have the brain crap especially when I turn my head, I am crying at work for no reason, thought I was hypoglycemic, excessive sweating, confused, I am just beside myself, I am a nurse, I can’t be professional, I just want to be swallowed up by the ground, I refuse now to let this get the best of me.

July 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm
(37) Tania says:

I can’t believe what I have just read. My psych. told me to stop my Effexor XR last week, after about 4 years on it. I’d had a long period of hospitalization and this drug seemed to help. Over the years, I’ve been able to reduce to 75mg, and have noticed the weird ‘fizzing’ and a sensation of my eyes moving horizontally and flashing…but it did reduce in severity as my brain adapted to the reduced dosage. But now! For the first time in years I feel suicidal and have thoughts of self-harming – and this time last week, I felt on top of the world, convinced the ‘Black Dog’ was beaten once and for all! I keep weeping, feel faint, paranoid, irritable and as though everything has become two-dimensional when I look at it. I don’t feel ‘real’. I am seeing my GP tomorrow, and quite honestly, I would rather stay on the wretched drug for the rest of my life than go on like this. My husband and children will not cope with yet another breakdown.

August 5, 2007 at 11:51 am
(38) allison says:

I posted a little over a month ago about how awful effexor withdrawal was and feel compelled to follow-up. I sat through it for about 3/4 weeks. Symptoms from my earlier depression started coming up in addition to physical withdrawal symptoms, which seemed to lessen after about 10 days. I had hoped to go off the drugs completely but decided with my psychiatrist to try something else and am now on Zoloft which has helped with the depression. I have gone off this one before and it was nothing like effexor so that is hopeful. Anyway I just wanted to say that the physical detox effects of effexor lessened after about 10 days, so if you can make it that long, it’s worth trying.

August 7, 2007 at 4:28 pm
(39) Mary Jo says:

I was on Effexor for over 3 years after having breast cancer. I tried before to wean myself off but felt so “whoozy” and nauseas I started taking it again. About two weeks ago I started tapering myself off, taking 37.5 milligrams a day for about 10 days. This is my fourth day totally off and I just about lost my job, I’m sitting here crying my eyes out for no real reason, the inside of my head seems to turn on and off like when the power on my computer goes out and comes back on. I can’t sleep, my hot flashes have become worse than ever. My pharmacist says this should stop soon. I was SO relieved to read allison’s last comment that the effects lessened after ten days. This is the worse, definitely worse than any depression I’ve ever suffered, at least that didn’t make me physically ill.

August 10, 2007 at 1:58 am
(40) Saeed says:

I’m very glad to know that i’m not the only one living through this. Mary Jo, its actually been day 5 for me without effexor and i cant function properly at work and cant be normal at home its horrible but this time im not gona let effexor win even if took weeks so hang in their and trust me your not alone. There is an amazing article that i found about SSRI’s. I’ll try to post it tommorow i know it will help alot if you read it.

August 16, 2007 at 3:43 am
(41) Karen7721 says:

I have been taking effexor for over 3 years and am desperately trying to come off it. I find that I cry constantly for no reason at all and I am frightened to go to sleep because the nightmares are so terrifying. I wake up every morning drenched in sweat and have awful cramp in my legs. If I move my head too quickly it feels like the contents are loose and swilling about inside. I have found only one thing that can stop my uncontrollable crying and that is Bachs rescue remedy. Do try it. I am so scared about how long these withdrawal effects will go on for as I dont know how long my friends, family and job can put up with them.

August 16, 2007 at 10:45 pm
(42) JOCIE says:

Thank GOD their are others that have had the same effexor withdrawal and it is not just me going even more insane! I have been on effexor for at least six years and everytime i have stopped or even missed a dose by one hour i get those hideous electrical feelings in my head, ears and even my entire body. Went to mental hospital three weeks ago to do ect thinking it would be better than being on effexor for rest of life. dr. started tapering me off of it and withdrawal symptoms ensued. when i informed dr. how horrible i felt to my amazement he said those arent withdrawal symptoms, the only withdrawal from effexor you will have are flu-like symptoms. well this made me very angry I know it is effexor withdrawal, I have it every time i stop the effexor. dr. scared me making me think something else wrong with me besides withdrawal. Had two ect s and couldnt stand the memory lost. Came home and was suffering so bad from the withdrawal that i went back to hospital. I have been off the effexor for two weeks and have started the emsam patch, it is an MAOI. Feeling a little irritable and snappy, i think it is this patch, but i want to try for at least two months, i never want to go back on effexor.

August 6, 2011 at 4:06 am
(43) Renee says:

I can definitely relate! I opted to get off Effexor after several years because it caused my blood pressure to skyrocket over time. I tapered off the 150 mgs I was taking slowly and, while my blood pressure returned to normal, that was the ONLY thing that did. Thatís when the awful withdrawal began and I, too, thought I was going crazy!

My withdrawal symptoms included: nausea, night sweats, shivering, bouts of diarrhea (not typical for me), and very restless/jumpy legs at night while trying to sleep (restless leg syndrome?). I began having “fuzzy brain” or the inability to think clearly or focus my attention (which sucked because I was in college at the time and studying for finals). I became very agitatedóthe OPPOSITE of my normal demeanor. Then, of course, there were the weird brain “zaps”. These sensations are unique and much more dramatic and intense than basic dizziness. There is an “electrical” quality to them. Even before I stopped taking Effexor completely, I would feel zaps if I accidentally skipped a dose or took my regular dose too late in the day. A “zzzt zzzt” would remind me, ďOops. You forgot to take your Effexor!Ē (I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.)

Scarier still, a new and much worse depression beganócompletely different from anything I’d experienced before. For the first time EVER, I thought of suicide. This made no sense to me because my life was great! And prior to ever starting the Effexor, Iíd only had a mild form of depression and had taken other antidepressants over the years that did not cause this kind of hell when I stopped them. The longer I was off the Effexor, the worse the symptoms got. I kept thinking I would just wait it out and it would get better, but that didnít seem to be the case. After a month or so, the symptoms got so bad that I made an appointment to see my doctor. (CONTINUED BELOWÖ)

August 6, 2011 at 4:12 am
(44) Renee says:

(CONTINUED FROM ABOVEÖ) When I tried to explain the odd symptoms and how bad they were to my doctor, he looked at me like I was a mental patient. He clearly didn’t believe me and said I was being “hyper vigilant” about my symptoms. I could tell he was thinking that people on anti-depressants were “prone to worrying too much” and had to be coddled. He talked to me like I was a child (I’m in my 40′s), and I was APPALLED he wasn’t taking this more seriously! That’s when I decided to do my OWN investigating on-line to see if I was the only one suffering, or if I was actually the 5-year-old mental patient my doctor seemed to think I was. I was RELIEVED when I saw so many others dealing with this and that I wasn’t crazy! It was very validating.

I wish I could say my story had a happy ending and that the withdrawal symptoms finally stopped. Sadly, my symptoms progressed to a point that, after a few months, I genuinely couldn’t take it anymore (and neither could my family who was watching me unravel). It seemed my body had lost its ability to return to its pre-Effexor brain-chemical levels through natural means. I ended up seeking the only solution I knew available: to go back on an antidepressant. My body had apparently become dependent on this stuff and I needed to STOP the insane withdrawal nightmare! But since I will NEVER take Effexor again, I chose an SSRI with some of the fewest side effects (supposedly), and only take the absolute MINIMUM dose required to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay.

What makes me sick is the thought that I will likely have to take this crap for the rest of my life. I can’t begin to tell you how ANGRY this makes me! Perhaps if the drug companies had studied the long-term effects and withdrawal issues of this drug better, many of us wouldnít be in this mess. Now that we are seeing some very serious problems associated with these drugs, itís up to us to make others aware of the dangers.

August 17, 2007 at 11:53 am
(45) Mary Jo says:

Okay, I feel like my brain is slowing down a bit with the electrical zapping. I have gone 14 days without taking Effexor now and still having an emotional time but the dizziness and nausea have gone. I think the ringing and white noise in my ears will remain forever. I really do feel better so for those out there, don’t give up. My doctor also said I wouldn’t be addicted, but my pharmacist had a different opinion…..I will never go back on effexor again. Someone mentioned marijuana, and believe it or not, it really helped my feelings of dizziness and nausea. I’m not recommending any illegal behavior just a chance at feeling better.

August 17, 2007 at 10:30 pm
(46) Mark says:

Very grateful to have found these comments as I thought I was losing my mind. Brain Zaps suck huge!

August 22, 2007 at 12:52 am
(47) Caz says:

Doc told me it was my asthma that’s making me dizzy!! I thought it was strange that my vision was bein affected too! Its been two weeks since I stopped Effexor (tapered) after 7 years of AD use and 18mths of Effexor. I feel like I’m living in a fluffy bubble of brain shakes. I’ve lost confidence driving (too many near misses!), I cry at the opening of an envelope and I’m irritable and tired and cranky. This feeling sux and I hope to the bottom of my heart that it goes away or I’ll be tenpted to get back on the Effexor where i was on top of the world…

August 23, 2007 at 12:21 pm
(48) Mary Jo says:

Caz, don’t go back on effexor….I have been totally off of it for close to three weeks and I can honestly say I feel much better. The temptation can be great but don’t give up because the symptoms do subside. I still have little crying episodes but no longer the brain zaps or dizziness with nausea….Mary Jo

August 28, 2007 at 1:16 am
(49) susan says:

After about 10 years on effexors with wellbutrin, methylin and ambien all at the same time I have gone cold turkey and quit everything. 3 weeks free. I guess I wanted to clean hose and see what it is I really need, if anything.
I am crawling the walls! Although it is not as bad now as in the beginning in terms of dizziness, fainting, nausea ect. I want to scream. I can’t stop crying, pacing, eating and thoughts of suicide. I am convinced knocking all this stuff off is the best way to go I am having such a hard time. I have one of those doctors that just doesn’t get it and kept putting me on more and more piling one on top of the other without any regard for my health. Now I am at my wits end and need a fix. What does everyone else do when they get to the point of hysteria? HELP!!!!!!

July 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(50) Keith says:

Susan,

I know your post is old, but I’d love to hear from you. I just did the same thing. Quit cold turkey, Methadone, Oxycodone, Welbutrin, Ridalin and of course Effexor. I am going up the walls. There is so much going on that it is almost funny. I can’t believe the stuff my body and mind are doing. I quit cold turkey 2 months ago and still have no relief in site. I went part time at my job to help deal with it. It really ruined my life. BUT, I am going to beat this. I don’t care if I have to fly to Tibet and climb a mountain to look for a fat blind man living in a cave to give me the answer, by God, I’m going to beat it. Good Luck (if you still need it)

August 31, 2007 at 7:28 am
(51) Mary Jo says:

Susan, please talk to your minister about this soon, anyone with thoughts of suicide are in need of someone to talk to quickly. If you don’t attend a church or your minister is unavailable, please, right now, get down on your knees and pray to our Savior Jesus Christ. We can do anything through Jesus. Mary Jo

September 14, 2007 at 12:16 am
(52) Laura says:

I have read all your comments and have to say I can relate to most of them. I have been completely off of effexor for 5 days now and am experiencing the brain shocks, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, crying epsiodes, irritability, all of it. I am so glad I found these comments because it is encouraging to hear that the symptoms do seem to subside after a few weeks. I just hope I can make it that long! It’s driving me crazy! I am a stay-at-home mom with 2 young girls (under age 5) and they don’t understand. It’s so hard. I will NEVER, EVER go on this poison they call effexor again. I had a similar problem going off of Paxil a few years ago. The only other one I’ve been on is Celexa and I had no problems going off of that, but of course, my doctor told me it’s no longer available. Never again – this should be banned! This withdrawal is beyond brutal… we have to remember we’re not alone!

September 15, 2007 at 12:18 pm
(53) Mary says:

This is my 9th day off Effexor. I am stilla little nauseated and very dizzy. My Dr told me since my dose was so low, 37.5, that I shouldn’t have withdrawal! HA! I have lost 9 lbs, and wonder if I’ll feel good again. I feel as if there is something inside my head pushing on my ears! I am taking Wellbruiton now. I agree that Effexor should be banned.

September 22, 2007 at 5:36 am
(54) Trish says:

I have been taking effexor for 1 year (300 mg for the past 10 months) and I’ve never missed more than one days dose. I accidentally stumbled on the withdrawal effects when I went on vacation and forgot my medication. On day 3 without it, I started really suffering what I now know are withdrawal symptoms (brain ‘shivers’ or wooshes, dizziness, nausea, ‘numb’ feeling all over, crying, paranoia.. you name it).

This drug is terrifying. If I had known the withdrawal symptoms were this terrible, I never would have started taking it. I wasn’t planning on stopping it because it does work AMAZING for depression, but now.. I’m scared to take it and scared to stop taking it. I feel like a drug addict with no escape. I wish I could stop, but I will continue to take it until there is a better way to come off it.. any suggestions?

Why is this drug legal? And why are so many people, like me (not to mention doctors themselves), clueless to the scary effects of effexor?

September 22, 2007 at 11:10 am
(55) Duane Stolldorf says:

Why are these drugs being used? And why do Doctors not know the side affects? Maybe
because they want to give a pill and everything is fine. So they can play golf.
I have a lot to say about these drugs. But it would take to much room on this forum.
So I will try to give you some URLs to go to that I have written about my experience with these drugs.

http://www.veteransforamerica.org/index.cfm/page/weblog/subpage/display_blog/bid/512EC740-123F-747A-1B3A2AC2E9D72B01

http://www.veteransforamerica.org/index.cfm/page/weblog/subpage/display_blog/bid/C7D8C9E2-123F-747A-1B994C52BF3C47E6

http://www.veteransforamerica.org/blogid/2559

http://www.veteransforamerica.org/index.cfm/page/weblog/subpage/display_blog/bid/DEA3751E-123F-747A-1B98447C96F2B0EA

September 25, 2007 at 1:34 pm
(56) Mary Jo says:

Trish, if your actual dosage of Effexor is really 300 milligrams I think that would be an incredibly high dosage of Effexor. If your doctor really prescribed that dosage then I would get a second opinion and see if you can at least taper down to a reasonable dose. I have never heard of that high of a dose. I think I am finally over with my withdrawal symptoms and will never go on Effexor again. I don’t think doctors prescribe pills so they can go play golf, I believe the majority of physicians are trying to help us.

September 27, 2007 at 12:28 pm
(57) Donna D says:

Thank God I am not alone. After being on Effexor for over 4 years (prescribed for Fibromyalgia- like that wasn’t bad enough!) Over the past month I have weaned off 225 mg of Effexor while beginning Wellbutrin 150 mg. This is day #5 Effexor-Free. I have never felt this close to crazy in my life! I never had depression- I had chronic pain- now I feel like I have both! When does this end??

October 4, 2007 at 10:22 pm
(58) Mark C says:

Horrors of Jailhouse Drug Withdrawal
Sept – Oct, 2007

I am disabled. I have been on 50 mg of methadone/day for over 15 years for pain management. Same dose all that time.

Due to a DCF/Family Relations ‘anger/disobedience’ incident which steamrolled horribly (God’s Plan?) I Kicked the habit while in a very small jail cell. All the meds I got for a week of incarceration were three 800 mg tabs of Motrin. Period. The prison system stole (won’t give back) about a gram of methadone (about 100 10mg tabs from my Pharmacy) that my wife had brought to the Police Station after my arrest. She brought all my prescribed meds. The cops gave them to me as prescribed. The prison system flatly refused.
God is awesome. My ego was totally dissolved. The strong body pain set back in first. Bad. Evil. And the doctors at the prison refused to let me take the medications that were legally prescribed and in their possession.

I did not sleep more than 5 minutes at a time, only a few times a day, for 10 days. Odor and taste hallucinations, and Brain-zappers like electric Atari Pong being played in your head. from withdrawal from methadone 50 mg and Effexor XR 75 mg (an antidepressant), caffeine, nicotine per day.
Then I do more reading on Effexor and discovered that Effexor may well have been the cause of my momentarily-induced anger that got me arrested in the first place. Note: I was arrested without a warrant 2 days AFTER this incident. I work from
home over the internet in global high tech support. Yet I am ordered to stay away from my daughter and my residence? Say What??? How am I going to work from home if I canít be there? So the daughter has to stay elsewhere for now, crying about the whole situation and being homesick. I love her so much, and I pray for her now, more than ever.

The town cops and the State DCF come into my house and work out of habit with full expectations/biases. I told them I was disabled and hadn’t slept for two days, since the scene with my daughter… Of course I was ornery. So the cops who said “We aren’t
here to arrest you” arrested me.

After 7 days in pure Hell, involving exquisite pain, severe drug withdrawals, auditory, waking dream hallucinations, nasty smell and taste hallucinations causing nausea, no sleep, couldn’t eat, guilt over my daughterís situation, and not being able to help my wife from jail, you know the drill (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and what God leads you to, He brings you through). Luckily my only two-bed cellmate was a born-again Christian. Another cellmate might have hurt me for keeping them awake every night with my cries, pleas, prayers, crying, pacing, water drinking, heebie geebies, cold sweats, hot flashes, cold chills, nausea, pain, etc, etc. I wasn’t allowed to make any phone calls to anywhere, from when I was arrested (Wed) until the following Mon. evening.

I finally get out and go see my family physician. I say I don’t ever want to take another methadone pill for my entire life, and I want off of the Effexor. I have no desire at all for alcohol. I asked for subutex or suboxin for the easing of withdrawal, and/or oxycontin (I was started on methadone in mid-80s, oxycontin wasn’t around yet.) No way. He says “I
don’t recommend it”. He says 75 mg Effexor XR is a comparatively low dose. But I since learned that severe withdrawal symptoms from Effexor XR is not dependant on dose.

Having Arachnoiditis and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, they should give me whatever I reasonably request. My aim is to remain clear-headed and working. I do not want to sleep my life away in a stupor.

My whole life of pain began with a Pantopaque (oil-based contrast dye) myelogram in 9/1980. Since Oil-based dyes have to be retrieved, the doc was trying to suck up the
dregs when my spinal cord or a major nerve branch was pierced by the needle he had in the epidural space of my back. My whole body left the table, short-circuited, and did not fully come to rest even after the surgeon had time to say “no permanent damage” twice!

I continue to work through it all, having a beautiful, loving, blessed wife who is blind since birth and contends with other physical disabilities, and a wonderful, smart, pretty, loving, healthy, headstrong, and sometimes disobedient 14 yr-old daughter.

Now there’s a protective order. I am not drinking alcohol. I am trying to get a rapid appointment with a pain clinic to discuss all this, and I hope I can get there soon. I don’t want to end up back in the ‘Joint’ over another stupid thing that may happen.

And get this. My doctor ordered 200 mg Ultram ER (Tramadol HCL) per day for me. Tramadol is worse than the methadone I was on, from what I’m reading on the ‘Net. Dang, Try me on oxy. Or some other Ďnormalí pain reliever. Withdrawal only lasts 3 days and I understand there are meds (suboxin, subutex) that are great for easing the withdrawal symptoms, which I could keep on hand if required. I want to remain in full control, continue to be a positive contributor to society (having worked all my life since I was age 12) and the best husband and father I can be. Half-measures only lead to self-medicating behaviors that lead to more problems.

I am not one to question God and His methods. He has earned my full Faith and Trust, and has been generous with His Mercy. But after I get some resolution with a Pain Clinic, I think I just might sit down with a good attorney.

MC
fyygdsob@aol.com

October 4, 2007 at 11:25 pm
(59) MC says:

By the way, fellow sufferers, I was so happy that I learned about the brain zaps from you guys. I didn’t know WHAT was causing that. Effexor is expensive, and i often went without. God have mercy on us all!

October 11, 2007 at 12:52 pm
(60) Nancy says:

I was put on effexor xr for menopausal symptoms. I had insomnia, joint pains, and way too many night sweats. Two years of averaging 3 hours of interrupted sleep and sweats and joint pains had just worn me down. I was feeling depressed because of it all. I just wanted something temporarily to help me sleep and feel normal again. My Dr. never told me anything about the side effects or withdrawal symptoms. I had called my Dr.’s nurse and told her that I had gained 17 lbs. and have been very tired since being on the effexor. I asked if the effexor could be the culprit of my weight gain as I have been following weight watchers and exercise 5 days a week.(By the way, I had lost 15 lbs. before starting effexor). I still was gaining weight! The nurse called me back and told me that the Dr. said that the effexor would NOT be making me have the weight gain and tiredness. I was feeling like I just didn’t care about doing anything anymore. Sort of lifeless. I started to investigate/educate myself about the effexor online. Everything I was reading from posts at all different web-sites, told me that I was right. The weight gain and feeling listless and tired all the time was from the effexor. I read about the withdrawal symptoms, but decided to go cold turkey. I want this drug out of me! I usually educate myself about certain drugs and such before I decide to take them. In this case, I was just sleep deprived, and didn’t do my homework. Shame on me, but also shame on my Dr. for not telling me anything about this drug. I always ask the Dr. questions about anything he may want to prescribe before going ahead with it. This was one time I wasn’t thinking clearly. Well, this is day 5 of cold turkey. I felt/feel most all of the withdrawal symptoms that I have read about from others. The head zaps, zings, (zzzt is the best description) are bothersome, but for me tolerable. I think that I can attribute that to reading about it, and knowing what to possibly expect. It is the dizziness that is the worst. I don’t feel that I could drive a car, or even go out walking. I feel nauseous off and on. I used to have bad gas every day and night no matter what I ate. That is the first thing that I noticed disappeared almost instantly. The stomach bloating has gone down significantly.I know that this sounds gross, but I could clear a room in less than 10 seconds before stopping the effexor. Now that was definately something I could not do before. Thank God that is over!! I have my elderly parents to take care of, so I need to be functional! I am hoping that from what I have read from some of the comments here that I am not far from feeling somewhat like myself again. The thing that scares me is that I have read certain comments from people that have said that they still have the head zaps and dizziness years after being off of effexor. I was on effexor for 5 months. Started out on 37.5 mg. for the first 4 weeks, then went up to 75 mg. for the next 4 months. Some of the people commenting about the after effects, where on much higher doses for years. I am concerned that this effexor drug may have long lasting, if not permanent disabilities. Look at the spelling, and you see that part of it pertains to effects. Hmmm..effex-or-WHAT? I will get through this, but will certainly be watching for any possible upcoming class action lawsuits. All I ever wanted was to get some sleep. Good luck to everyone trying to get off of this vile drug.

October 15, 2007 at 8:56 pm
(61) Mark_C says:

I was forced completely off effexor XR and 50 mg methadone/day. Also Strattera 60 mg, caffeine (coffee and cola) tobacco too, for 7 days. The combination of withdrawals took my ego to a place where I no longer had one. I had terrible olfactory and taste hallucinations, and lost 15 lbs in that week. I am seeing a psychiatrist with a specialization in pain treatment tomorrow. God have Mercy on us, and on the whole world. I don’t know where God is taking me, but I know that wherever He leads you, He brings you through.

October 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm
(62) Dawn says:

Thank goodness for the internet. My doctor switched me from Effexor straight to Wellbutrin. Well, 3 days later I felt like hell. In one day, I had the brain shivers, dizzyness, nausea, severe headache and eye pain, sensitivity to light, an anxiety attack, several crying attacks, night sweats, dispair, a feeling of impending dome…I could go on. I thought it was the Wellbutrin and immediately started my Effexor again. During that whole ordeal, I decided I was done with antidepressants…my life without them had to better than this!
My doctor gave me a sample pack to slowly wean off Effexor (one week of 75 g, then one week of 37.5 g). Well once again, 3 days after the last 37.5 g dose, the intense headache returned and the crying and what felt like a migraine. I made a desperate, tearful call to my MD’s office. He was out of town but the MD on cal gave me another sample pack. Within 3 hours of taking the 37.5g pill, I started to feel a little better. Since that day one week ago, I have been playing a waiting game. After the first day, I felt the beginning of the headache at 28 hours after the first pill. The next day I went 36 hours. I went 49 hours without yesterday. I am feeling well but am confident that my way of tapering off will work. None of those nasty symptoms have a chance to begin.

I am going to see my MD today. I am going to warn him about this drug. I don’t think anyone should take this ever. There has to be better drugs out there without these nasty withdrawls. I have the insert given to me by the pharmacist with Effexor. The list of symptoms known to occur with withdrawl is longer than the possible side effects list!
Good luck to all who are trying to come off these “legal” drug. It does get better. Hang in there!

October 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm
(63) Mark C says:

I’m the 50 mg/day methadone guy, age 53 and disabled. I am only taking 30 mg methadone/day now but at my pain clinic appointment last week I admitted to self-medicating with alcohol or sometimes cocaine prior to my forced detox. Hell, I was on tne same dose for over 15 years, and I told my Primary MD everything. I haven’t used alcohol or coke for weeks, but now I am clinically defined as “highly addiction-prone/abusive”. The whole reason I self-medicated was because my MD refused to vary my treatment. The pain center referred me to a suboxone MD (who refused to treat me) then both referred me to a clinic which doesn’t do pain treatment, just “anxiety, abuse, and adult behavior modification”. What about the intolerable foot, leg, back and arm and hand pain from arachnoiditis and RSD? Am I “too complicated” a patient to get treated as a normal human being who’s body was irretrievably diseased by a surgeon’s botched oil-based myelogram? Dammit, the Medical Community caused my disease, and now I feel discarded. What do they want from me? I’ll give them a contract if they want, and even submit to random urine and/or blood samples. This just ain’t right, and it’s becoming more depressing than ever. I live in central CT. I still work full-time, from a PC, at home in IT Helpdesk support. I don’t want to lose what I already have. That includes a wife and teenaged daughter. And a job, even though it doesn’t meet our expenses. I think it wil take God to take me passed this “Dark Night of the Soul” Prayers are appreciated folks! M.C.

October 25, 2007 at 12:17 pm
(64) a-lisa says:

I’m not even going to get into the symptoms, since I’d just be repeating everything that all others have said. I’m miserable and want off this drug so bad! It’s only been a week and I still had to take 1 partial dose to get me through some of the nausea. How does the Dr. tell me to “take another pill” when I’m trying to get off of it, just to help the withdrawals subside?! That feels like telling an alcoholic to take another drink b/c the detox is too hard! Either wean/taper and get off or I don’t know; but this back and forth in between thing is very frustrating!
Anyone have any support group numbers or willing to post a # or email to talk directly?
feel free to contact me and I hope to hear from someone!!! Good luck to all!
ap13newbegin@hotmail.com

November 2, 2007 at 11:37 pm
(65) Irene says:

Hi. I’m trying to get off this cursed Effexor XR too. It took me a year to even get ON it, I had the electrical zaps and most of the withdrawal symptoms while going ON this med. I tried Paxil, Wellbutrin, Lexapro in between trying the Effexor XR but ended up eventually staying with the Effexor. Eventually I ended up on 150 mg./day for the past year and was feeling so listless and tired that I suspected I was on too much, possiby shouldn’t be on it at all. Discussed it with my dr. and started decreasing. Decreased by 37.5 to 112.5 for two weeks and only side effect was bad nightmares for first week but felt fine in the day time and slept well the second week. After two weeks, I dropped another 37.5 to 75 mg and stayed on it for 3 weeks, same nightmare scenario for first week but okay during the day and okay after that. Dropped another 37.5 to 37.5/day and didn’t even have nightmares so after two weeks, decided to stop taking them. I felt fine the first day and night but almost fell over when I got out of bed the next day. I felt nauseous and dizzy and off-balance and really woozy so took 37.5 mg. and decided to stay on it for another week.The week was up on Thurs. (now Fri.)and I didn’t take any Effexor but by yesterday afternoon, I was feeling nauseous and generally not well – wondering if I have the flu? I see that flu-like symptoms are typical withdrawal symptoms.Last nite was hell – I had weird feelings in my chest and in both arms and wondered if I was having heart attack since they say women’s heart attacks are different? I almost called 911 but didn’t. Got up this am and still feeling nauseaous, ate some breakfast so I could take an Effexor but this time, I’m still feeling nauseous and generally lousy. Spent most of day in bed and guess I’ll take the 37.5 for another week, and then I’m going to try dividing the little suckers and taking approx. a half capsule and see if that works.

I’ve been lucky until trying to get off the 37.5. I was sailing along just fine and feeling that I was doing the right thing – that I don’t need an anti-depressant anymore. I definitely want to get off this one – I think it should be taken off the market.

What is really scary is when you read and hear about people going to dr.’s and complaining about anxiety and instead of prescribing an anti-anxiety med like Ativan or one of the other diazepam off-shoots, they put people on anti-depressants. That is SO wrong! And they say they aren’t addictive? Well, they say diazepam is addictive because you just can’t stop taking it cold-turkey, you have withdrawal. So how come the anti-depressants aren’t classed as addictive – you can’t just stop taking them either. I’ve been on diazepam, gone off it (in hospital) and stayed off for over a year and then was put on another anti-anxiety pill (actually tried almost all them and diazepam is the only one that controls my panic attacks, not even Xanax controls them)so I take diazepam, the same dosage for over 30 years and it still works for me, especially since it’s an muscle -relaxant, which I need. But I don’t see how they can prescribe the SSRI’s and other off-shoots like they are doing. It’s all about making more money for the pharmaceutical companies. Doctors believe what the pharmaceutical companies tell them and the big money now is in these anti-depressants. Have we screwed up our brains forever?

I want off Effexor. If I get depressed like I was before, I’ll take something else but I want off this drug – it has put my blood pressure up and put my pulse rate up so that I now have to take a blood pressure pill as well! So I hope to get off that pill as well once I’m free of Effexor. How long does it take to get it completely out of your system? Anyone know?

May God be with us all in what we’re going through. Good luck to all.

November 7, 2007 at 7:19 am
(66) Pauline says:

Thanks to this forum, I can have a wee bit faith that my withdrawal symptoms will reduce more as time goes by. Over the last three and a half weeks I have reduced venlafaxine(effexor (No capital letter!!!)) from 150mg to 75mg then down to 37.5mg to half again. I have now been three full days free of this POISON. I have suffered chronic pain for nearly four and a half years now after an accident at work, but I have to say, that these withdrawal symptoms have been the worse thing I have EVER had to come through.

I can’t eat because I feel so sick all of the time. I have been sick once. I am shaky and going from hot to cold and back again. I have continual sweats too.

I was hoping that my signs were the signs that I was expecting my husband and I’s first child together as I have very tender breasts too. Won’t know for sure till next week.

I am so glad that we didn’t try for a baby until I got off this POISON as I couldn’t let a baby come through this. It is bad enough an adult.

I COMPLETLEY AGREE WITH MOST OF YOU, THAT THIS DRUG SHOULD NOT BE ON THE MARKET WHATSOEVER. IT SHOULD COME WITH A PUBLIC DANGER WARNING!!!! I THINK IT’S ABOUT TIME WE LET THE POWERS THAT BE, KNOW JUST HOW BAD IT GETS FROM WITHDRAWAL. Does anyone else feel the same as me, out there?

Thanks for listening to my moans. God Bless you all. We definitely need His help to get through this Hell.

Pauline x

November 10, 2007 at 5:53 am
(67) Debra says:

Thanks to this forum I no longer think that I am losing my mind. Has anybody else been suffering migrains since starting this vile drug. I was told that the migrains were a symptom of my “adjustment disorder”. But miraculously thay have stopped since I have stopped taking efexor. Yes the withdrawals symptoms are horrendous. Thankyou to everybody who has shared their experiences here. It makes it easier to know that you are not on your own. Take care Deb.

November 28, 2007 at 1:45 pm
(68) Dawn says:

I am sitting here in astonishment!! I started taking effexor(no caps purposfully for lack of respect) about a year ago, reaching a whopping dose of 300 mg of xr daily. Sure I “felt better” I was suffering from major depression, mostly situational, panic and anxiety; a real mess looking back now. I felt better because nothing mattered anymore. I could cope with all sorts of things, keep this medicine coming. I excelled in school, work and I thought life. All inhibitions went away. The very situations making me miserable were suddenly acceptable and I was finally able to “cope”. Encouragement and delight from a signifigant other on my “transformation and acceptance of life” was also keeping my judgements clouded. The down side was weight gain. The signifigant thought I was getting a little too hefty, increasing from a size 0 to a size 4. That gives you a little insight into that not doesn’t it?? A week ago, I caught a “cold” from a co-worker, started OTC medications which always make me excessively sleepy. I stopped taking the effexor cold turkey, yes 300mg daily to cold turkey. Each day I felt worse to the point of going to an emergency room in excruciating body pain, horrible headache, horrible sinus infection, uncontrollable crying and a fever of almost 103. I was treated for a massive sinus infection with major antibiotics, given a decongestant and pain medication. I have now finally waken up after 3 days of constant sleeping. I have never experienced anything like the past 3 days in my life. Nightmares, calling out in my sleep, hallucinations, horrible pain, excessive sweating, and diarrhea. I thought I had a horrible flu/infection, maybe I do, but now I know why it is like none I have ever experienced before. I still feel like I have cotton in my brain, ears and general whole body. I am emotionally numb, a good thing from what I have read; although I have gone through horrible emotions the past few days, I was just highly medicated and “lucky to survive”.
I started my search on effexor to see how long it would stay in my system as I have been without it now for a week, thinking there was probably no reason to restart it after this amount of time. WOW, am I floored with what my search turned up!! I am not going to restart it, I am not! I will get through whatever else I may experience as I am strong and so are all of you. Free for a week now, and no clue about any of this or why I felt (and feel) so bad. There is so much more I could add…this is already so lengthy. Light bulbs are turning on as I type…increadible journey all because of this medication.
Stop it and stay off at all costs, I will continue to check in as I am still floored…I just cannot believe it.

Stay safe and strong

January 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm
(69) azure says:

OK, it is great to find others in a similar situation. I have taken 75 mg daily of effexor for about 4 months…and on holiday recently missed a dose and got the dizzy effect. Before then I was exhausted all the time and got little or nothing done because of the urge to sleep. I’ve decided not to renew my script and wait it out cold turkey. So far the effects are mild, but I will rely on exercise to recover and stay off the stuff longer term. I am not sure I can drive with this giddy stuff going on, but I am drinking lots of water to flush it out. I hope it goes away, like, permanently!

January 5, 2008 at 7:12 pm
(70) Leslie Kucinick says:

I have been taking effexor for 12 years, 450 mg daily. Recently I have reduced to 150 mg daily. Yes I felt weepy, tired etc. Prior to effexor, I was on Prozac for 10 years and when that no longer worked, I had a breakdown with severe anxiety. It was 3 months before we could find something that worked. By this time I didn’t care even to see a doctor. My last resort was Effexor due to a Doctor who was really knowledgeable about depression. Thank God that there was effexor.
The side effects are tolerable considering the alternative. It is my opinion, more prescriptions are given than need be.
I wish I could do this on my (not take any medication) own and live without it. The results were to slip into deeper depression. It must be a chemical
inbalance.
I love God with my whole heart, soul and mind and every fiber of my being and am thankful for this medicine.
Meanwhile, do the best I can while I have life.

January 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm
(71) Duncs says:

I stopped taking this horrible drug around four weeks ago having been on it for four years (prior to that I had been on seroxat and prior to that, prozac). The withdrawal effects have been bad. I’ve had brain zaps and days when I’ve cried and cried and cried – I don’t feel this is the depression returning but rather it is the drugs leaving me.

February 5, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(72) Merle says:

I, too, was on Effexor for about 5 years. I was switched to Cymbalta… over a period of three weeks. I had no problems at all during the switch. I have no doubt that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and cannot be without medication. What I wonder is why everyone is stopping Effexor without going on something else. Depression is a disease of the brain. If you had another illness, would you stop taking the medications that helped you feel better? I would rather be medicated and feel better for the rest of my life than go through what you are all going through.
Just tell me why you are all stopping???
Thanks…. Cymbalta has not only helped my depression, it has helped the horrible back pain that came with the depression. Thanks for listening

February 7, 2008 at 1:51 am
(73) vivi says:

Same. Same. Same. Was put on Effexor 7 months ago for severe depression. 225 mg was max. My joints(ALL) swelled and I was in chronic pain. Weight gain was crazy- I have never weighed 10 pounds more than my wedding day weight (17yrs ago), and suddenly Im 30 lbs UP in 3 months? FP is angry that OB/GYN put me on it. He switches me to Wellbutrin. Weaned off XFR for the past 5 weeks. Today is day 3 of 0 XFR. I just call my brain zzzts as vertigo, which is familiar to me. Flu like symptoms, cant sleep, but my MAIN PROBLEM is the inability to lie down. I cant even bend down, or lean forward! Once my head is horizontal my esophagus tightens beginning at my diaphragm and squeezes up to my throat and I cant breathe… This is Crazy, but if it will make my joints go back normal, pffft- Im gonna do my damndest to live through it.

February 7, 2008 at 8:51 am
(74) Paul says:

I was on Effexor 225Mg in 2001 til 2003 and decided to come off of it. I went cold turkey at the time and suffered from the brain zaps, vertigo, headaches, mood swings and all manner of weird stuff for 3 months. I’m a very stubborn person though and I kept convining myself that one day it would get better again. Almost three months to the day it just went away and left me feeling ok again. I stayed off the effexor from may 2003 til January 2004 where things got to the point that I just couldn’t handle the stress and anxiety I was feeling.

In short, I would have done something stupid if I hadn’t ended up going back to effexor. I knew that someday I’d have to deal with the withdrawal again but I decided being hooked on effexor and living an anxiety-free life would be the lesser of two evils and that someday I’d probably have to confront the withdrawls again.

Anyway, here’s the good news bit, I decided to handle it a different way this time. Since November 2006 I have been tapering down my dose and spending months on each lowered dose til I got down to 20Mgs a day in January 2008. Last Friday (6 days ago) I stopped the drug completely. Since then I’ve had dizziness and brain zaps but my mood has been very optimistic and happy. Today I’ve discovered that the brain zaps have diminished to the point of just noticable but not debilitating and I think I’ll probably be rid of them completely within a few days.

The point of my story is that I’ve read hundreds of information about tapering off this drug and avoiding withdrawals. Well, sorry but I’ve done it both ways and I don’t think there’s any way to avoid them. Doing it right though you can get away with lessening the effect of them and speeding up the eventual withdrawal period. Believe me, 3 months was a hell of a torture the first time round and, by commparison, 1 week is a lot better. I would recommend if you want to come off it ..

(1) Don’t rush the process. Take as much time as you can. Get totally used to a lower dose before lowering it again i.e. month or two even if you feel fine.

(2) Keep reminding yourself that the brain zaps and headaches etc will go away soon. At the worst points it’s really hard to remember that but they do go away.

(3) Know that you’re going to experience them and don’t be naive. Plan for feeling rough and try to schedule it for a time where you can rest, relax and don’t need to interact with people if you don’t want to.

(4) Get a nasal spray (Vicks or something). I’ve noticed that coming off effexor gives me a stuffed up nose too which may have something to do with the dizziness. The nasal sprays slighty help to alleviate both.

(5) When the brain zaps get really bad, hold your hand about a foot away from your eyes and focus on it for about a minute. It will steady your vision and calm it back down again for a few minutes to give you a bit of relief.

Anyway, I hope this information helps in any way. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that other people are out there experiencing the same things. Keep your chin up and you’ll get through it and just try to be as optimistic as possible.

Feel free to give me a shout too if you need any advice or anything. As I said this is my second time at going through this so believe me I know all about it.

Take care and good luck,
Paul.

February 9, 2008 at 5:33 pm
(75) Julie says:

Hi, I have sat here this morning and read each of our stories and cried. I took effexor for two years,and at one stage was taking 300mg a day. After feeling like a zombie I spoke to my doctor and cut the dosage straight down to 150mg a day. The withdrawel efforts where unbeleiveable – and very hard to explain to four young children. Since then I have slowly dropped my medication over a couple of months so the now I am not taking anything. I felt in my heart that I was ready to feel like me again. When I first stopped taking them I felt fine. A little bit a nausea but nothing to tragic that I could work through as I wanted off these things. It has now been four weeks and I have gone from feeling like my old self to not so good. I have commented to my friends how stong my emotions have been since I stopped taking anything, but still felt quite normal – happy or sad. But the last couple of days I have felt really flat and just feel not so much like myself again. Also very stong feelings of sadness. Cry at the drop of a hat. I am celebrating my 40th in two weeks and would like to hear from anyone who has experienced this feelings as well. And what approach they took to handling it. thanks

February 12, 2008 at 12:31 pm
(76) Evan says:

I had been on lots over the years for my panic disorder….. paxil for a year then went off and had all the withdrawal symptoms…..then I went on effoxor….went off it too….again all the withdrawal symptoms (effexor was BAD)…then I went on Remeron…with no major side effects after going off…..and for the last year I had been on nothing…just ativan for BAD attacks….and I was dealing with my anxiety kinda ok…..then my doc decided to put me on prozac due to depression/anxiety…..and after knowing/dealing with SSRI’s I was hesitant but I THOUGHT prozac was the ‘safe’ SSRI with the least amount of symptoms!!! I WAS WRONG….I honestly feel like Im going to die everyday….I was only one it for a month then this all started happening whilst ON the drug so I stopped completely about a week ago and the symptoms are just getting worse….I sit in my room unable to move…..ever since I went on it I have been unable to sleep period….I feel like Im gonna barf all the time…..and something that I didnt get with any other SSRI is my muscles are SO insanely weak sometimes I cant even stand up or make a fist…..Im constantly anxious and feel like I cant breathe…breathing is a big thing with my anxiety normally but now I cant seem to ever catch my breath!!! In the last month I have lost probably 20lbs…..I look disgustingly sick now….The weirdest difference now then with effexor/paxil withdrawal is Im WAY more anxious now (effexor I felt HORRIBLE but my anxiety didnt increase) and also waking up is just aweful!!! when I do get my solid 2-3 hours of sleep at night I wake shaking uncontrollably…like my muscles are numb and I cant move them….then I get anxious cuz Im short of breath and my tongue/lungs/throat feel numb and it feels like Im not breathing so I freak out (and not the hyperventilating kinda numb….I get that plenty..this is more numb numb if you know what I mean)….and my hands/feet sweat a disgusting amount….it takes me a few hours just to get over this feeling every morning…..but it basically doesnt go away….Im just anxious ALL day…..Im starting to think theres something ACTUALLY wrong with me more than withdrawals…its really scary…my doctor attributes EVERYTHING to anxiety so telling her any symptom is useless…..

just the muscle weakness/waking up unable to move except for shaking violently/weight loss/breathing issues are all things I didnt get with other SSRI’s and in researching withdrawals of ativan and prozac I dont see those as symptoms….so Im kinda worried something more is wrong….dealing with this anxiety and stress everyday is aweful….

should I be worried something more is going on? Im sooooo sick of feeling like this….being this stressed/anxious all the time cant be good!!! Any suggestions?
So yah I dunno what to do….Im also thinking I may be going through ativan withdrawal also….cuz for the past few weeks Ive been taking 6-10mg a week …I know that may not sound like much for some but when I was only taking that in 2-3months before it is for me. So I think Im getting hit with 2 withdrawals at once….Im doing my best not to take ativan when I have my daily attacks now….so far so good…havent in a few days….

February 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(77) Zeke G. says:

Tapered myself off of Prozac have had brain shivers for like 3 months insomnia and had more OCD thoughts like the not breathing correctly shit wich is my mind 24-7 also when Im trying to fall asleep it seems like right before i crash i hear some fucked up noise within my mind like a loud snore wich freaks the shit out of me and wakes me up, Oh and have had some strange panic attacks i never had before anyone with info email me please, ezq2003@yahoo.com, again Thanx and good luck to a and God Blessed is you.

February 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm
(78) Zeke G. says:

Yeah bro Ive been thru exact same thing take it one day at a time and try to watch things you like on TV, also try to spend time with loved ones and eat stuff you like also try some natural stuff to help with sleep Melatonin 3mgs per night also remeber if you dont fall alsepp nothing bad will happen also remeber theres millions of peeps going thru the exact same thing as you and if anything no matter how difficult it may get try to go out to the park and then to the mall local grocery store and extcc. in baby steps and then remeber your mind will always try to dominate you so stand up to yourself and say I wanna get better no matter how damn hard it is also, if not in any sports get into one pronto i mean pronto as this well help alot, if not try to walk a mile a day or jog, all in all you will make it.

February 15, 2008 at 9:31 pm
(79) Ellen J says:

I just decreased effexor xr from 225mg to 50mg over 5 weeks. For the first 5 days from 225 to 150, I was in such a hopeless state – and very, very angry. I called my parents and said horrible things to them, and it was damaging. I was also finishing an Ativan taper from 1.5mg to nothing over the course of 2 months. One important thing – I’m 42, and I realized after those awful days that I was PMS-ing. The day I got my period finally, the depression went away (I don’t have diagnosed depression, just anxiety.)

I have diarrhea – not to the point I could get dehydrated, but my stomach is a little messed up. Some days I’m OK but other mornings I’m nauseaus and I’ve vomited a few times. I’m pretty weak and have some muscle pain but not too bad. My moods have stabalized but I feel “flu-ish” and am not able to do much most days.

I noticed that caffeine makes a HUGE difference. The days I stay away from it I do much better. One other thing about these meds – if you’ve been on them for years and then go off, whatever your body has developed while on them suddenly comes out – hence my hormonal stuff. these meds can also hide the pain of other physical conditions so when you come off the meds, you can feel things – probably even age, physically and mentally.

If I have to go back on, I will – but I’d like to see what I’m like at this age not on meds after lots of years.

February 17, 2008 at 10:36 am
(80) Miss Anonymous says:

Hey everyone,
after reading all your comments (and the equally awful horror stories on other sites) I decided I wanted to get off my Effexor (XL) right away. I started it on 1 December and only ever took 75mg, so I have only ever been on it for 2.5 months on the lowest dose.

I went cold turkey and today is day 3 (I would never have the patience to wean off anything!) and I have to admit even I experienced some withdrawl symptoms, though they have been relatively mild compared to what others have posted about it. I think that is because I have used so little Effexor.

On the drug I had headaches, no appetite, no sex drive, not much motivation, felt emotionally dead/ numb, weird vivid recurring dreams and nightmares, sneezing, extra sweating, especially at night, and while it helped me in the beginning I am not totally sure if it was effective for my depression (compared to the zoloft I was on many years before)

Off the drug I have had headaches, weird dreams, sneezing, inappropriate body temperature, sweating or shivering, aches, and this bizarre feeling in my brain when i move my head too fast (like my brain is sloshing around in a bucket of water!)

All of this totally astounds me as my psychiatrist told me NOTHING of the withdrawl symptoms when she put me on the drug (I would NEVER have taken it) and mine should be virtually non-existent as I have only been on it for 2.5 months at the lowest dose!

My advice to anyone at all who is on any form of effexor is this: Get off it now, and stay off it! If you need an antidepressant, try zoloft or something else (be very careful which one you take), and DEFINITELY do not stay on it to avoid the withdrawl symptoms.

I am really sorrry for those of you who have been on this stuff for years or on high doses- I can only imagine how awful it must be! My psychiatrist was proposing to put me on it for five years, or potentially forever, but I hate taking drugs of any sort, and my reading about effexor just made me think I have to get away from this stuff asap!

Good luck for your withdrawl efforts and please tell everyone you know to avoid this drug at all costs!

February 22, 2008 at 7:32 pm
(81) Chris says:

on day 7 without Effexor XR in my body. Beyond miserable – considered the “brain zaps” won’t ever disappear. Doctors seem to run the other way when I ask about them or they play dumb – I would like to know what the hell is going on in my head. Will they only last a couple more weeks with the other umpteen side effects or will I be stuck with these forever? I hope someone can answer me. I am beginning to feel hopeless.

February 22, 2008 at 10:57 pm
(82) Heather says:

I have been taking Effexor ER for about a year and have had terrible withdrawal since trying to come off of it. I have dizziness, nausea, terrible migraines. I wish I had never taken it at all. BEWARE!!!!

February 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(83) J says:

Im on my 6th day off paxil after 4 year emotionless stint on it. But I enjoyed the emotionlessness because I had no friends and I was out of mind at the time and couldnt go into Target without feeling like I was going to die. Or I couldnt even leave my apartment for that matter. Brain zaps are amazing. By amazing I mean fricken nightmare. I cant seem to find anywhere how long this withdrawal typically lasts. I was just driving home from work thinking about something that happened 3 years ago and wanted to kick everyone’s ass. Im not even violent and Ive only been in a fight once in like the 4th grade. Extremely irritable all day at work. Had to catch myself from over reacting to customer bullshit all day. Horrible. God I hate myself for taking this crap. Ive also come to the conclusion that doctors hand this out like candy and a classic cha ching noise goes off in the background. I so want this to be over but if I find out Im going to have to go through weeks and weeks of this Im going to Rite Aid and just except that Im a fiend for life.

I will then prank call my dipshit doctor on a nightly basis for telling me how awesome paxil is. Cheers

February 28, 2008 at 10:12 pm
(84) Heather Z says:

Itchy, bitchy, ditzy: these are my main w/d symptoms, and I’m finding them very hard to cope with. I’m on day 4 without any effexor, after tapering off slowly, under a doctor’s advice, over the last couple of months. At every stage (150 to 112.5mg, 112.5 to 75 mg., 75 to 37.5mg) I had about three bad days: brain zaps, dizziness, emotional volatility.

But going from 37.5 to zero, which I did over three weeks, has been really difficult. I’m emotionally volatile. As others have noted, I can cry at the drop of a hat, and I experience fits of pure rage — which is very unlike me. And during the first couple of days, I was crawling out of my skin with itchiness.

Although I generally have a pretty measured relationship to (western) medicine, I have come to regard effexor as a poison. One of the reasons I wanted to come off it was the weight gain: 30 pounds in one year, and that’s with working out six days a week. (Can you imagine if I wasn’t working out?) The official literature on effexor says it doesn’t cause weight gain — just one more claim I’ve come to regard as a cold lie. I started fainting repeatedly, too. One time when I lost consciousness, I fell into the edge of a table and cracked my head open, leaving me with a rakish scar over my right eye. The explanation seems to be that effexor can accentuate vasovagal reactions. And I was generally listless, taking at least one nap a day and sometimes two. As for sex: what sex? No drive, no interest. All in all, I just wasn’t myself on effexor.

Every withdrawal symptom I endure makes me more and more convinced that coming off it is the right thing.

The good news is that the itching only lasted a few days. The dizziness and brain zaps are the worst. If I move my eyes too fast, the back of my brain wobbles. I have vertigo and a buzzing sensation under both ears when I close my eyes.

Like other people, I want to know how long these withdrawal symptoms will last. One post, in the summer of 2007, says about ten days. I’ll try to remember to sign on and update you all as to how long it takes me to feel better.

For other people going through withdrawal, here’s what I’ve found helps:

1) Exercise: it doesn’t do anything for brain zaps or dizziness, and in the early days it made my itchiness worse, but I find exercising very helpful for managing the emotional volatility.

2) Pleasure: I decided today that coming off effexor was as big a deal as coming to terms with anxiety/depression disorder in the first place. Until I feel like myself again, I’m not going to work 24/7. I’ll do what I need to do, and fill the rest of my time with the things that give me the most pleasure.

3) Support: Withdrawal symptoms are real, and they are not necessarily evidence that you’re sliding back into anxiety/depression. Tell your loved ones and trusted colleagues (if you’re lucky, a supervisor) what you’re going through. And take their kindnesses.

4) Patience: Remember how long it took to adjust to effexor in the first place. The body is a dynamic system and it adjusts.

Like I say, I’ll check in again. Meanwhile, thanks to everybody for sharing your experiences.

Peace,
Heather Z.

February 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm
(85) TD says:

OMG! This is the most excrutiating “stuff” to go through! I’m soooo glad I found these comments and know I’m not crazy! I’ve been on Effesxor XR for a little over 2 years. I’ve experienced the withdrawals of missing a dose. I decided to come off of Effexor because of several reasons…not advised by my Dr., since he feels “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”……It’s been 8 days since I quit taking the meds and I still feel like crap! I feel like I have the flu, but my head is so off-balance! Like many of you have mentioned as the “brain shivers”, my head is swimming. I can’t even open my eyes at times because it hurts so bad or I feel like throwing up. I hope this only lasts about 10 days because I really don’t feel I can take much more of this. My mood swings aren’t too bad. My concerns were the night sweats and chills—literally soaking the bed enough to wake up my husband, then shivering uncontrollably because I can’t get warm. Smells/odors are so intense. I can think, but my head just spins and it interrupts my thought process. I have to be careful because my balance gets off. This really bites! I wish the rest of you luck and for all our sakes, this passes quickly.

March 2, 2008 at 9:30 am
(86) Cathy says:

I just got this book the other day. There’s a lot out there, but this is a great read and this guy has even offered it free on CD for any doctors that requests it. We talked about this a lot on PaxilProgress.org. Anyway, it’s called America Fooled. You can check it out at Amazon. I ended up buying it from one of the independent dealers because it was much less expense. There have been so many books written about these problems for a long time (I guess doctors don’t read, because if they did they would think twice about dispensing it like penny candy). What is great about this book is that it is easy to read for anyone. If I knew back in ’99, when I went on Paxil, what I know now about how these drugs work — never mind withdrawal or side effects — just how they work, there’s no way I could have been convinced to take these.

BTW, don’t be misled by the name PaxilProgress, it’s now turned into the best place for support and help for getting off any SSRI and even benzos. I’ve only posted here once, but if I didn’t mention it before, were it not for this site I would not be sitting here typing this right now. The only reason it’s called PaxilProgress is that the poison the founder took happened to be Paxil. I found it because my poison happened to be Paxil.

Effexor and Paxil are considered the two worst SSRIs to get off of, because of their very short half-lifes.

I just hope this helps some of you here. It doesn’t matter what poison you’re on. They’re all bad. I can’t believe that I’m almost two years post-Paxil and the memory, concentration and physical problems are still legion, although I have come a long, long way from a year ago, when I was suffering from akathesia for three months, and that side effect didn’t start until I was seven months off of Paxil. These drugs are so bloody unpredictable.

March 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm
(87) Dissapointed & now scared! says:

I was just wondering if there was anyone who could tell me how long it takes to be free of the withdrawl effects? I have been on Effexor since October 2007 because it was suggested to help with the anxiety I was experiencing at the time. I had just been married, moved and started teaching in September and it was all a bit much all at once and sadly I was desperate to take anything that would help. It has been helpful but now I’m terrified to go off it but desperately want to. Do I need to plan for summer holidays to get off this stuff???? I’m on a low dose 37.5 but if going off of it is going to interfere with my job do I wait?? How long?

God bless all of you coming off of this scary stuff.

March 2, 2008 at 9:03 pm
(88) annie says:

If it hadn’t been for all these comments I think I would have thought i was going stark raving mad. I don’t think i have ever ever felt so ill and out of control of my body as i have coming off Effexor XR 150 mg. I’ve been taking it for the last three years and I did it exactly the way my pyschiatrist said to do it by halving my doses every week. Its been 3 days without taking any Effexor and i still feel like shit. The brain tremors are more like brain quakes and happen even when I’m just lying down or sitting still. My whole body feels numb yet my mind is racing out of control. My head feels as though its being held in a vice like grip and I feel terribly agitated at the slightest little thing be it happy or sad. As for the crying, anything sets me off and I cry and cry and cry. I tried to watch a movie last night and sobbed all the way through it even though it was a feel good movie!! The sweats are worse than when I went through menopause and that was unbelievable. I just hope and pray that these feelings go away in the next two weeks otherwise I may just end up in the looney bin!! May we all get through these awful times and thanks to you all for letting me know I’m not imagining things.

March 3, 2008 at 7:40 am
(89) brett says:

I have been using effexor for over a year now, at times i have forgotten to take it, the withdrawals were so bad i would be scared to ever try to get off it. its nice to know that others have felt the same symptoms aswell. i could best describe it as a dizzines, i feel like i loose control of my eyes, its not a nice feeling. i take a 150mg dose and to be honest, i dont think that i have ever gotten better. but i dont want to tell the doctor as i know they will want to increase the dosage. i feel pretty stuck in this effexor nightmare, i pray there is a cure.

March 4, 2008 at 11:05 am
(90) Barbara says:

Today is my second day without effexor. I went from 150mg to 75 for two weeks then to 37.5 for a week. I told my doctor I didn’t want to take it anymore because of the way it made me feel when I missed just 1 dose. So, as per his instructions, I tapered off. He told me that after taking the 37.5mg for a week I should be able to stop with no problems. He was wrong! My second day off I was so dizzy and nauseas that I could barely function. At first I did not attribute it to the effexor (or lack thereof). I thought I might be having an episode of Menuiers Disease which also makes me dizzy and sick feeling. I called my doctor and he said it probably was from the effexor. He recommeded that I take some meclazine (motion sickness medicine). This morning, day 3 off the effexor, I took two meclazine pills. I have to say it has been extremely helpful with the feelings of nausea. It has not helped with the “brain shivers” though. Nothing helps with that except not moving my head at all! But all of this is just like what I experience with the Muenier’s and the only thing that helps me when I have an episode of Muenier’s is to lay very still for a very long period of time until it goes away which is usually the next day.I know what I am experiencing now is from the effexor because it has not gone away yet!

March 5, 2008 at 11:40 pm
(91) Keltie says:

So it has now been three weeks since I cut myself off effexor – cold turkey. I started taking effexor (75mg) in 1999. I was, until 3 weeks ago, taking a dosage wieghing in at (450mg) a day. I cut myself off hard. I tried many times to ween myself off, but to no avail.

I am still having a problem with “eye spasms”, I try not to drive as I find that alot of movement makes these spasms worse, even going to a movie rocks my head – still.

It seems being ‘depressed’ is easier than this. I am just scared these spasms are going to be with me forever! It took me three weeks to just be able to look at my computer screen without throwing up, and this is about all I can manage now. How long will this last for me? For my poor family?

March 6, 2008 at 10:04 pm
(92) Sandra says:

Okay, I have just weaned myself off of Effexor. I did it over a 1 month period of time and I was down to the lowest dose (37.5). I would take one everyother day for about a week. And for the past 5 days I have been off completely. I was sooo dizzy.But I seem to feel better now. I feel way more in touch with my feelings…they almost feel raw.I was on Effexor for 3 years due to axiety brought on my a 5 year custody battle. I since then have moved on and am in a much better emotional position. My bid worry is relapse. Any suggestions/comments?

March 10, 2008 at 4:19 am
(93) CAZ says:

Prozac: I started it about 4.5 years ago. I quit taking it about 2 months ago. I started feeling tightness in my chest then ended up with the flu (my kids had it too so I don’t think it was just in my head). After the respiratory flu, had heart palpitations and then a panic attack. Since then, I’ve managed the panic eppisodes just knowing that it is in my mind but still have pain in my lungs. I’m affraid to go to the doctor because they seem to think I’m a hypochondriac. Doc says to go back on the prozac. These prevalent bouts of feelings of anxiety and feeling like I’m going to die are difficult. This web site is helpful. Anyone else with prozac withdrawl who can offer support, would be greatful.

March 12, 2008 at 5:16 pm
(94) Tennel says:

I’ve been on Effexor since Nov 07-5 months. Started with 37.5mg after 3 weeks, 75mg, after 3 more weeks to 150mg and after 3 more weeks to 225mg. Mostly I had some headaches, which went away as I adjusted to the higher doses, and more of a problem, what I call the “dizzies”, feeling like I would pass out. This got better, but comes and goes.

He did warm me of side effects both from the medicine and about withdrawal. “Not to do it cold turkey”, it would make me sick. He is a family practice doc. and I think good at what he does. He also told me that he never prescribes more the the 225mg, that he refers to a psychitrist (spelling) if 225mg doesn’t seem to do the trick for me. Some docs are honest and have your best interests in mind.

I decided I wanted to stop taking it, being afraid of the withdrawal I’ve been reading/hearing about. I started to taper off, while waiting for a week for a doctor’s appt.

He said go from the 225mg to 150 after 3 weeks go from 150 to 75, after 3 weeks, go to o. If I started to feel a “relapse” in the depression symptoms, stay on the dose prior.

I actually had started tapering off on my own
with a much small reduction than he suggested, over a shorted time frame, without any side effects:

1)from 225mg (a combimation of a 150 capsule plus a 75mg tablet) to the 150mg capsule with 1/4 of the 75mg tablet. I cut it in half and the halves into half again. I stayed on this for one week.

from the above dose, I went to the 150mg capsule plus 1/2 of the 75mg tablet. I stayed on this dose for one week.

from

o a dose using the 150mg capsule plus spliting one of my started tablets of 37.5mg in half, so 18.75mg or total of

March 17, 2008 at 12:44 pm
(95) lisann says:

I’m so glad I found you all! I’m not crazy! There have been some inspirational stories here and I’d like to thank you all for sharing. It has helped me immensely! I have been on minimal amounts of effexor for 2 years. It was prescribed to help with night sweats due to menapause so I could sleep better. They made me sleep better alright, like I could sleep all the time, and also lathargic/un-emotional, LIFELESS. I didn’t know if it was just menapause or medicine that caused those feelings. Now I know it was the med. Today is day 5 without effexor. I went off them on my own without knowledge of how aweful these withdrawls would be. I’m never going back on those pills again! The withdrawls which all of you have explained and we all share are still here and have not improved a bit yet. I’m looking forward to the day they’re gone. I’ll keep you posted.

March 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(96) lisann says:

I believe I’m having moments of clarity and calm on day 7. It helps a lot to know I’m not alone. Just realizing that when I was not exactly on my schedule of taking the med, maybe a couple hours late even, these withdrawals was what I went thru for a day and even up to 2 days! I’ll keep you posted.

March 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm
(97) Dissapointed & now scared! says:

Lisann – I’m so glad for your documentation. I too missed a day – just to see and good grief I was miserable – dizzy, nauseas, headache….7 days? More? are you on other meds or motion sickness pills?

March 20, 2008 at 1:16 pm
(98) Another effexor quitter says:

I am on day 4 of quitting effexor after 4-5 yrs of it. Mostly at a dose of 225mg. Went down to 150 for a few months, then 75mg for a couple of wks. Then now nothing. Feeling very nauseaus, dizzy, itchy, sweating, tired, sore muscles as I am typing this. Thought it was the flu, but it’s the poisons coming out. I am taking “Activated charcoal”, used for poison victims to absorb the toxin poisons in the systems. Also, ginger for the nausea. Helps when I take it, but when I need it again, just take more until the poison is all gone. I guess “gravel” now has a new one made with Ginger Root, husband just phoned and is picking some up for me, will update you later. It says it has no drowsy affect. I am thankfully not freaking out about being poisoned by effexor, just thankful, I am not dead and it’s all coming out now. The nauseating feeling is actually helping me keep still and calm about this whole thing or else I just get more nauseated. Taking my chewable multi vitamins and extra Vitamin C too. Actually could take a shower too to rid my skin of the toxins as well. I don’t think effexor is addictive, I think it’s poisonious enough to make us feel sick when quitting it. I think it just keeps stored up in our bodies the whole time we’re on it and when we quit, it’s overwhelming as the toxins start leaving our bodies, just like any thing or anyone toxic in our lives. Better to feel sick for now, than sick forever and not even know just how sick. Just took some activated charcoal, some relief and more on the way, the Ginger Root Gravel, non-drowsy. Essiac Tea or liquid is good too for a whole body cleansing. Not sure if one should start it during detox, but definately read about it on the internet, it is “non-toxic”.

March 20, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(99) Another Effexor Quitter says:

I am feeling sooo much better since I started taking the Activated Charcoal and Ginger Root today. I hope you will take these two things because you will feel so much better too. I actually feel like going out of the house for a little while instead of sleeping.

March 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm
(100) Dan says:

Today is my first day off it. I’ve been taking effexor for a little over a year. During the first 6 months, I was also smoking marijuana, which my Dr. warned me could interfere with it.

Due to the sexual side effects (I couldn’t finish what I started), my Dr. is switching me to Wellbutrin. I was on 75 mg of effexor and now on 150 mg on Wellbutrin 2X a day. For 2 days I was taking 1 Wellbutrin in the AM, and a 37.5 effexor at night. Yesterday was my last effexor and I’m already experiencing the flu-like symptoms from withdrawal.

I know symptoms are different for everybody, but will the Wellbutrim help alleviate the effexor withdrawal? Any idea of the average time period of the withdrawal symptoms? Will marijuana help or hurt the withdrawal process?

Fortunately, I have the next 4 days off work, so I hope the worst of it will be over by then.

Thanks in advance for any answers,
Dan

March 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm
(101) Scott says:

Wow!! It has been so long that I realy have forgotten how long I have been on E..correction,,effexor. And in all of this time, I would relate these symptoms to my doctor if, say, I missed a day, and he assured me that it had to be something other than withdrawal. It was almost as if to say ” it must be in your ‘head’”
Well I am glad to say that he retired and I decided to see what life was like antidepressant and psychiatrist free after 18 years. Fortunately, from all of the occasional missed medication days, I was sort of prepared for some of the withdrawal symptoms, I thought! Has anyone else experienced symptoms of a compromised immune system? My hands have misteriously broken out in large red blisters and I now have what a PA considers to be a viral sore throat. I work constantly with my hands in a variety of conditions which would normally just result in more calluses. Now it seems that any slight irritation of my fingers results in what would appear to be a “staph-like” blister. ??? I don’t believe in coincidence.
Anyhow, Thank goodness for the Internet. Reading your accounts has given me the strength I need to tough this out..out..out…Sorry, my brain shivered.
God Bless and good luck to you all!

March 22, 2008 at 6:51 pm
(102) Karen says:

Well, here I am day 8 of effexor detox wondering if I’m ever going to get better. From day one I felt the symptoms. I woke up really aggressive like I wanted to punch walls for no reason, and now everyday since I’ve been so nauseous, dizzy, and trembly,and I’m getting my old anxiety attacks back which is what I was taking effexor 150mg for(1 year). I always felt effexor wasn’t right for me even though it helped with my attacks . It created new issues for me like sweating,flushing,hot flash feelings (i’m only 37!)bad dreams,weight gain,no libido, felt I never wanted to wake up, and more recently depression. I told my doctor I wanted to try something different. So he put me on prozac which I ve been taking for about a month while cutting back the effexor xr. I’m scared that this was a wrong move. Because I feel so sick ,and I’m worried about not getting better for some upcoming big trips Im going on. My doctor suggested bumpimg up the prozac to help with the withdrawal of the other. I did this ,and felt about 20 times sicker, and very emotional. not doing that again, and I’m staying very adamant about not going back to a small dose of effexor like my doc suggested. I don’t want to go backwards! Anyway I was desperate enough to call the Wyeth company,1-800-934-5556, and ask them what I could do they told me something my doctor never did. That there is smaller dose tablet other than the 37.5 capsule the doc had me go off of.It’s called effexor IR (immediate release)25 mg that you can split later to wean even more. I have to tell you I’m so pissed that my doctor didnt know about this option. If I were the people on 37.5 mg and trying to wean, I would look into this option ,its a slower method of going off ,but in my opinion a better one. I really hope this helps people in preventing the suffering that I’m going through now.

March 23, 2008 at 9:37 pm
(103) Another Effexor Quitter says:

Hi again, it’s day 7 and I have discovered that I have what’s called “LEAKY GUT SYNDROME”. No wonder I felt so sick. Started treatment yesterday, and will see day by day how it goes. Stress, medications, are two of many causes, primarily mine. Grateful for the internet, my new Doctor since I can’t get to see mine when I need to and besides they don’t even acknowlege things that are really going on in the body until they can cut it out with surgery or drug you up and cause more problems. Thank you for everyone’s input, seeing the above comment and mentioning Miniers Disease started me on my discovery of the “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. Thank you. Hope something in my comments can help someone too.

March 24, 2008 at 2:47 pm
(104) Bob says:

Not all withdrawals are horror stories.

I’ve been taking 75 mg a day for 13 months. My Dr. weaned me to 37.5 mg for 3 days, then nothing. Today is day 3, and all I’ve had is flu-like symptoms, and even those are clearing up. The first day was the worst, with the fluffy head feeling, but regular otc cold meds are doing the trick.

I guess it goes to show that not everyone will have the severe symptoms, and not everyone will have mild symptoms…just depends on the person.

March 24, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(105) lisann says:

Day 12 of being off the effexor and I feel better than I’ve felt since starting it almost 2 years ago! I was able to cook the entire Easter feast for my family & friends & participate in conversations. I have my sense of humor back & I feel like I have a future now & that it’s gonna be good! Still brain wobbles once in a while, not much of anything else! My goal is to wake up some day real soon wondering where’s the jelly brain feel gone to?! Looking forward to it!

My best to you all and please write your doctors, print this running conversation, send it to them, they need to be educated. We may be the one percent (that’s just a guess) that this happens to, but we deserve to be well informed and given information that is valid from the professionals we look to to help keep us reasonably healthy. Doctors are just really good scientists, they aren’t gods but I believe they really do want to help us (most of them). My problem was that I hadn’t educated myself before taking this because I was so desperate for help & had never in my life taken a long term med. So it’s been a learning experience for me and I will pass it on to you and who ever else will listen! I’ll keep you posted as to the day I wake without the wobble!

March 24, 2008 at 5:25 pm
(106) lisann says:

TO: DISAPPOINTED NOW SCARED

Forgot to say in the last post that no I am not or have ever been on other long term meds. I was given the seasick pills when I went to the doc because of these withdrawals due to missing my dose by a few hours. Doc thought the dizziness (was the best I could describe) was bad sinuses/allergies but they did nothing for me.

TO: DAN

If you are on a prescription based form of marijuana for medical purposes, please do not read any further, I wish you the best, but, if you aren’t, PLEASE stop using illegal drugs. They are called ILLEGAL for a reason. There are no controls over them, who knows what the heck is in it. We are here discussing what a LEGAL drug that a health professional prescribed for us & what it has done to us. Illegal drugs won’t help anything! Look what the legit ones did to us!

March 25, 2008 at 12:22 pm
(107) CAZ says:

Continuation from previous email:
I found out today that I have a large gallstone. This may have been the reason for much of my anxiety due to classic heart attack symptoms, including shortness of breath and chest pain. It took a while to find this out because doctors just told me that I was having an anxiety attack and that I should go back on prozac. I did that but am now relieved to know the underlying cause of my recent anxiety. I am going to start weening myself from the prozac after I get the gallstone removed.

March 25, 2008 at 3:20 pm
(108) jack says:

SO GLAD I found this site!!! Pls, has anyone developed BP issues since the use of effexor? I have no history and I exercise (until March 5) daily, no smoking/drinking or drugs (except effexor), not diabetic, no illnesses….now SUDDENLY crazy high BP, so quit effexor after reducing for a few weeks…having dizzy and still unusual BP!! PLS HELP! J

March 27, 2008 at 10:47 pm
(109) Kelly says:

I too am going through all of the same withdrawal symptoms from Effexor, the worst being the brain shivers and nausea. I probably wouldn’t have posted this it I hadn’t seen some of the others comments on Marijuana. This herb has helped me so much. I don’t think I would be able to keep going without it. I don’t know of anything else that helped relieve the symtoms at all.

March 31, 2008 at 11:59 am
(110) lisann says:

Day 19 without effexor & I promised that I’d keep you posted. Sorry to say I still have the brain slosh & nausea once in a while still, usually when I’m trying to look behind and to the side when I’m driving, or quick head/eye movements, but better to be off the stuff than on for me. I’ll keep you posted til the end.

March 31, 2008 at 11:39 pm
(111) Lisa says:

I am on day 5 with no effexor. My doctor prescribed it to me for situational depression during my divorce. I only took it for 10 months at 75 mg per day. My doctor took me to 1/2 dose for 2 weeks and then to nothing. The dizziness and craziness I’ve experienced are horrible. I feel very agitated and was never like that before. I’m usually very calm and have stability in my moods. Getting off of this drug is nothing short of a nightmare. If I had been warned of these effects I might have looked for a different solution! Because of the dizziness I took a softball hit to my face that caused me to get stitches in my lips and had a cracked tooth that is now getting crowned. I have never been so “off” in depth perception and judgment. Every day I wake up thinking that it will be better but it’s not. I’m dizzy and feel like crap! This drug is dangerous and the cons outweigh any potential benefits. I doubt the doctors even know what they’re giving their patients. I am going to try natural cleansing and/or take any advice I can get from the herbalist. If I find something that works, I will post it here. Good luck to everyone else here that is experiencing the same stuff.

April 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm
(112) karen says:

Day 18 of effexor detox, and I’m still feeling some withdrawal symptoms. I feel real jittery and weak most times. My dizziness,gagging, and nausea is not as severe as it was, but I’m freezing all the time. And when I have taken medications for something else it seemed to amplify my withdrawals . Has anyone else experienced this? please hang in there people who are just starting to wean ,it does start to get somewhat better. So many times I wanted to go back to taking the poison so I would feel better, but now I know I can make it without it.

April 3, 2008 at 8:29 am
(113) Jennifer says:

Hello Everyone,

I’ve only briefly scanned the above posts so I apologize if someone has already mentioned this site.

I just recently went off Paxil and it was awful. Iím through the worst of it and from what Iíve read, othersí had it much worse than I! Those poor souls.

Anyway, during the height of my symptoms, I found this site and wanted to pass it on. The ‘voices’ section has a bunch of Reader’s Letters, much like this one.

http://www.quitpaxil.info/

I wish everyone well.

Jennifer

April 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm
(114) lisann says:

IF YOU HAVE HAD A PROBLEM WITH EFFEXOR:

US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/THE FDA SAFETY INFORMATION AND ADVERSE EVENT REPORTING PROGRAM FORM
IS LOCATED (I just found today):

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/getforms.htm

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE FORWARD TO YOUR DOCTOR AND IF THEY WON’T COMPLETE IT, DO IT YOURSELF. IT’S UP TO US TO GET THE WORD OUT! I DON’T WANT ANY ONE ELSE TO HAVE TO GO THRU WHAT WE DID WITHOUT ATLEAST A WARNING. THANKS!

Just to keep you posted, day 22 without effexor. Still the seasick/brain-slosh thing once in a while & emotional. Still better to be off the stuff than on. My best to you all!

April 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm
(115) Lisa Chasse says:

This is officially day 8 with no effexor. I don’t feel like I’m about to kill someone or take an axe to the furniture so that’s an improvement. But I am exhausted and sleeping way too much. My head has been hurting still and I do still feel dizzy when I move suddenly (not good for playing softball). The activated charcoal did seem to help. But in general I am lethargic and lacking energy to do even the simplest thing. Maybe another week???

April 6, 2008 at 4:48 am
(116) krissy3108 says:

PLEASE READ!!! MAY BE ABLE TO HELP CALM THE WORRY & ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.
With all my knowledge & insight I too was prescibed effexor xr and took it for 2 yrs. I am on my 6th day of the zapping, and all the other lovely symptoms. From what I’ve been reading from everyone it sounds like i may have 3-4 weeks longer.
HOW I WAS INTRODUCED TO SSRI’S:
I have 4 children, almost immediately after I had my fourth, I askd for something for post=pardum depression. I would get it after each pregnancy, Nothing major, only lots of crying & a feeling of being “home sick” while laying in my bed with my new baby. I hated it but it passed in a day or two…… Anyways, Once that passed, it seemed that I was so irritable. I know, I thought it was caused from the lack of sleep, but no!!!!! After a couple menstrual cycles (sorry for those men reading this)I realized that time of the month was making me acrazy & mean!!! Or what I should say, CRAZY MEAN!! I bitched at my kids (not the newborn of course) the dogs, my husband, neighbors, etc… you name it, I probably jumped in their face. So to make a short story long, my doctor put me on Zoloft. It was doing wonders for me in the beginning, so I was okay with taking a pill everyday. After taking zoloft for about 7 years, I moved to a new area & switched dr’s, the new dr said being on zoloft that long, it probably wasn’t doing anything for me and he wanted me to switch. 2 yrs ago my dr put me on effexor xr 75 mg. (tapered up ofcourse) I put on about 35 pounds. I’m 5’9″ and used to weigh 130. I was a model for a long time and never had to worry about gaining weight. So to make everyone understand the incredible weight gain in such a short time while never changing my diet, could only be attributed to the effexor xr poison. i tried tapering down by the suggestion of my new dr. I did the entire 14 days he suggested, but like everyone says, the withdraw is enough to keep a person on it. I continued to refill my script of 75 mg, i would take 1/2 a capsule every other day. if i started getting brain zaps i would take a whole one. I decided to just take a whole 75 mg capsule every 3-4 days, which worked out good. by the 3rd day I would start feeling a slight with draw, if 4 was the day, the zapping in my head was getting bad so I would pop another capsule. I’ve heard that effexor was hell to get away from, but i’m now halfway down the road from the bullshit. As you can see its 4:10 am, I’m still having trouble sleeping after one week, the zapping is still there, jerkiness, shaking, irritability, there all still hanging on. I’ve worked as a pharmaceutical rep for 10 yrs, i know the bullshit those companies feed the public. I got out and work for myself now. I figured now would be a better time than ever.

Just another bit of reassurance to all those sufferers: The side effects are only temporary. The human brain is an amazing function in and of itself. When we take a medication that crosses the blood brain barrier, we should all be aware of possible effects ANYWHERE. The brain is the ‘central computer’ with millions of jobs. When we throw an unwanted player into the mix (such as effexor) our brains need to figure out quickly, how it will work with the newby and still be efficient down to the micromillisecond ACCURATELY! So the brain gives the newby the job it came to do, which means the brain must make new jobs for the “people” that just got booted out. the brain will in a sense ‘rewire’ itself so to work efficiently & effectively as its alway done. NOW, we decide to pull that ‘effexor’ worker either taper down or cold turkey. It takes a while for the brain to realize there is an area without workers. (EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY!) just a little humor in such a depressing topic. The reason we feel the withdraw effects of the medicine is because the brain needs time to once again rewire itself to now begin working a specific area that was forgotten about for quite a while. Although it may seem like forever and the zapping & other side effects will be with you forever, rest easy… they won’t. You will once again be YOU, but a smarter one and maybe one that if its not severe enough of a problem, stay away from medications that just “kinda sorta” sound like your problem. Most depression, axiety, panic attacks, etc… are temporary problems caused from an outside influence or traumatic event. Take a medication that is indicated as TEMPORARY ONLY!!!

I hope I helped answere some questions. If anyone would like to ask me a question, I’ll do my best to answer.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! EACH DAY BRINGS YOU CLOSER TO THE LAST DAY YOU’LL FEEL THIS WAY!!!
KK

April 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm
(117) Lisa says:

Thank you to the last poster. I did read your story and appreciate what you shared. One of the main things that you pointed out was that the doctors quickly prescribe Rx pills when the issue may be just situational. For example your “depression” was due to hormonal imbalances after you had your baby. My “depression” was due to a divorce. These are both temporary situations that probably did not warrant long term medication. I guess we had to learn the hard way. My guess is that the doctors don’t even know what they’re giving people. My biggest complaint is that my doctor never told me what to expect about getting off of the medication up front otherwise I might not have taken it to begin with. Like I said, I am betting she doesn’t even know what happens.
There is some good news however. I am going on day 11 with no effexor and have found something natural that helps. I am now taking Ginko Biloba and 5-HTP. The Ginko helps with cerebral circulation and the 5-HTP helps with the increase of the body’s seratonin levels. Both of these were purchased at Vitamin World at about $10 per bottle. The quantity is a 2 mos supply for the Ginko and 1 1/2 month supply for the 5-HTP. So for about $15 a month you can help your brain recover……NATURALLY!
Now I’m not saying that things are back to normal yet. I still cry every day (something I do about once every 10 years normally). I am still fighting the urge to axe up my own furniture out of frustration. But the feelings are lesser than they were. Also for the last 2 days I have been able to function on 8-9 hours of sleep versus sleeping 14-15 hours per day. So I’m hoping that every day gets better than the last. It has been a long few weeks of withdrawals and also not easy on the 1/2 dose either. So my suggestion to others is to look at natural cleansing and or supplements. The activated charcoal and Ginger do help the body rid itself of toxins.
I’ve learned a lot about natural remedies and will continue to post updates. Good luck to everyone else and keep the faith!

April 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm
(118) Len says:

I’ve been on Effexor for a little less then a year now. I started off with a 75ml dose that at first gave a wave of energy and positive feeling that I loved. Plus, food cravings reduced which seemed like a good idea. I enjoy writing and reading a great deal and had been really active in a myspace blog but the day I took the first pill I stopped for about 6 months. It seems odd to put the blame on the drug but for some time it seemed to take away the ‘spark’ that I had previously thrived to embrace.

Well, the first like the concept was that the first hit was free since the effects seemed to just wear off and not only did the ‘rush’ go away, which I was fine with, but now the reason I started taking them in the first place seemed to be coming back and even a bit stronger. So the dose was upped to 150ml and a smaller and shorter lasting feeling came over me as when I first started the drug.

So… guess what happened? Come on… guess? Yep, the good feelings that I did honestly like wore off, the feelings from before seemed to start coming back but instead of just dealing with that I know had this wonderful feeling of withdraw follow me everywhere I went. I always could ‘feel’ when it was a bit over do for a dose. I would get kind dizzy and feel a bit weak or perhaps a bit nauseated. Oh… and never was it worth it to miss a dose all together… oh no. I don’t know what the brain zaps are about that so many people talk about but I do understand the concept of what a brain shiver is. How f*&ked up it is to take a drug that is supposed to make you feel better now turns out to show you what a ‘brain shiver’ feels like. It is very hard to describe but I tell you that it sucks. You feel kind of weak, dizzy kind of like you sat up to quickly and my stomach feel weak. I’ve found that eating helps a bit and is usually enough to get by but you need a full stomach. What a wonderful side effect in that I’m not hungry but need to eat so that my shitty happy pill doesn’t make me feel like I am I have some evil flu. So now I feel they are better called f*&king crazy pills!

Another shock in this story is that I’ve decided to get off of these wonderful pills. While I had some issues previously they were easier to deal with then these side effects and withdraw effects. I started taking them every two days and some times I made it and sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I had to take a pill so that I could feel good enough to get through some kind of activity. Oddly, that in about an hour after taking the pill I would start feeling ‘normal’.

So, now it has been a couple weeks and forth day after quiting period. I just got tired of prolonging this, so what is now constant, fuzziness or perhaps better said as brain shivers are nearly constant. Not as intense as before but I have my moments.

So getting tired of this I just decided to man up a bit and stop. Wow! What the living hell is in this crap? There are many things going on in my life right now that is a bit stressful, to say the least but my reaction and swing of emotion around the situations is just crazy. From crying, sweating, very irritable to furiously angry this may not be connected but after reading some of the experiences associated with this drug I now need to wonder what level of influence this has had on me. It is not an excuse but the timing is certainly uncanny and I’m still feeling the brain wiggles and fuzziness nearly constantly… which is the withdraw.

I’ve managed to keep a grip with it physically and pray that any mental influence is now tempered but this is just crazy. I’m not going to take any more of these pills at this point but I’m not sure if prolonging this would be worse or just pushing through it like I am now.

So much for sanity in a pill:)

April 9, 2008 at 2:28 am
(119) Paul says:

Hello, my name is Paul and I’m addicted. We should the effexor equivalent of AA. I’m on Day 3 of quitting and it is the worst medical experience of my 44 years. I was on 75mg for two years. It worked – I was calm for two years. I went on 37.5mg for two weeks. No real problems, just the “fuzzy brain” syndrome, but liveable. Now, however, is completely different. I am not able to sleep as I have constant weird dreams and feel completely achy and sore. My wife described it as similar to “restless leg syndrome” which she suffers from.

Anyway, I would appreciate some suggestions on how people are coping during this transitional time. I started taking Tylenol PM to help sleep and it’s okay. This constant aching, restless muscles is driving me crazy!

Thanks, “wide awake at 3am” Paul

April 9, 2008 at 7:04 pm
(120) Lisa says:

To Paul:

Try the 5-HTP, Ginko Biloba, Activated charcoal and the Ginger. These NATURAL herbs will work miracles. This is like day 12 or 13 for me and I am finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck and just know that every day you will get better.

April 12, 2008 at 1:19 am
(121) Lesley Williamson says:

On Effexor for 15 months, maximum 150 mgs. Started weaning myself off about 6 weeks ago, reducing the dosage by taking the capsules apart and dumping out 15 or 20 grains per day. The only side-effects I had were occasional weepiness – cry for a minute or so, then done – and vivid dreams every couple of nights the last two weeks or so. Was thinking it was all going very well on the whole.

Had my last 20 grains (about 3.75 mgs) yesterday morning. Had a couple of episodes late in the day – slight dizziness when I stood up. Woke up feeling stiff and achy this morning – alleviated a fair bit by stretching exercises, walking and a couple of Ibuprofen. By late afternoon today I had that same dizzy, light-headed feeling every time I moved. Was out and about – it isn’t strong enough to stop me from doing what I need to – reading, walking, driving – but weird! As I type I’m getting it every minute or so, though it isn’t affecting my typing. Its like that brief dizziness when you stand up too quickly but it kind of goes right through your body, like a mild electrical current combined with a little chill. Also felt very slightly nauseous a couple of times today but eating something helped almost immediately.

Otherwise, am still on Zopiclone to sleep, so we’ll see how that goes. Honestly, when I went on the Effexor I was seriously thinking about jumping under a passing truck, and in retrospect it did help. As with other posters here my doctor said nothing about withdrawal symptoms, although I had done some research myself. He’ll be hearing about it when I see him next, though.

I’d read somewhere (?) that someone had mentioned Omega 3-6-9 fish oil/capsules helped. Started taking those daily about 2 months before i started reducing the Effexor. Maybe helped, who knows?

April 12, 2008 at 1:43 am
(122) Sherry says:

It has been a relief to read through the comments posted here. It has been such a process. The brain “zaps” have me spinnng still after a week of totally being off of the effexsor. I do notice them diminishing some. I found that if I kept a log there were times of the day that were worse and things that intensified it (movement, light, breathing..that was my attempt at a joke…seriously alog helped me keep track to see I was having better times). But now I’m having difficuly with sleeping more. The vivid nightmares seem to have settled down some. I wondered If anyone noticed when there was any substantial effect on their metabolism or weight gain. I have gained 20 lbs. in 3 months while exercising regularly. I am so frustrated along with the other concerns. I have battled cancer and a mild stroke and work haed to avoid health risks that will complicate other issues. Anyone have any experiences. My doctors advice was to try topomax to control the weight gain. I am really desiring to try to do without this type of medication as I have worked through the life situations I was in at the time.

April 12, 2008 at 11:48 pm
(123) Jennifer says:

Oh thank you to all for posting on this. I am taking 150 mg effexor for mild depression and anxiety. I admit that I need to be on something. My life before anything was horrible…I was mean, hateful, sobbing and all within like 5 mins. I ran out a couple days ago and so was cold turkey. I knew my script would be here within a couple days in the mail, so didnt think much of it. I have had the cross up with running out and getting some in the mail. I have had the brain shivers you all describe when I ran out before, but I thought it was my blood pressure being high because when my blood pressure meds arent working i get the same feeling. Well today, I got the feeling, brain shivers, and thought I would check the blood pressure. It was normal. So then I thought maybe I was suffering withdrawls, but thought that was a crazy idea. Was I ever wrong!! After reading everyone elses symptoms, I realized that I was withdrawling, with brain shivers and nausea. It scares me to be withdrawling….makes me feel like a druggy. I have decided that I need to discuss this with my physician because I know I need something, but this drug might not be the right one for me. Thank you everyone and I wish you all the best.

April 14, 2008 at 11:48 am
(124) lisann says:

Day 33 without effexor. Still the brain zap dizzy thing once in a while, my body hurts, back, knees, things the meds were covering up, but oh so much better, I’ll never go back!!!!!

TO SHERRY,

My daughter is on Topamax for migraines and has had some serious side effects. One being she has no appetite & doesn’t gain weight so I guess that would be something the dr.’s would prescribe to help with the weight gain, I also have that extra 20lbs from the effexor & can’t seem to loose any even now after 33 days of being off. But, the other side effects have been memory problems, numbness & tinging, muscle twitching, rapid heart beat and others. So, please study and see if it’s worth it or not for you. I am just going to be patient and see if a little time, some exercise and a healthy diet will do, if not I still don’t think I’ll take anything. It’s not worth it for me personally. Good luck and my best to all!

April 15, 2008 at 10:17 pm
(125) Dissapointed & now scared! says:

Well I am now 5 days off effexor and doing not too badly. – I am still working if you can believe it- teaching! I am a bit draggy at times but feeling a little more human. I can at least cry now. I was on the lowest dose for anxiety for 6 mos and just had enough of the lack of sexual interest (i’m a newlywed!) and weight gain (10 lbs).
I weaned off by trial and error. I skipped a dose to see what would happen and noticed the dizziness and nausea and headache right away. I took a pill and it helped those symptoms. So – after talking to my Dr. I decided that I would try by just taking it when the onset of the dizzies started. It turned out that I could prolong each pill until I eventually just went for it. I still have moments of fuzzy head and I am tired a lot but I have been forcing myself to get back into walking/running on a daily basis which has been helpful. I try to drink a lot of water too and have been doing an apple cider cleanse to move things along. I’m managing better than I thought I would. I haven’t had the anxiety reoccur which is nice and I feel a bit more human when I actually do cry! Yes – I still have issues! Anyway – I hope everyone is on the mend and feeling more human everyday.

Peace

April 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm
(126) Fiona says:

I’ve been taking 40-60mg Prozac for about 4 years to help with bulimia however I never felt it was particularly successful so wanted to withdraw. Having has successful counselling I discussed withdrawal with my doctor however the following week I had gastroenteritis and could not take any pills and since then, probably foolishly, I have gone ‘cold turkey’. I don’t like the way I’m feeling – dizziness, chronically tired and extremely irritable. Does anyone know if these symptoms will pass and if so, when? I have been without pills for about 6 weeks.

April 27, 2008 at 5:13 pm
(127) Pamela says:

Thank you one and all. I was put on effexor 8 years ago to control migrains. The dr. prescribed 75 and continued to increase dosage until I was on a “maintaince” level of 300. Since I had 2 minor white matter strokes because of cronic migrains I accepted the drs word that this was the answer to my prayers. I still must take maxault several times during the month for migrains. After 7 yrs. I started to have serious thoughts of sucicide. I never thought of sucide before. The dr. suggested cutting down dosage of effexor to 150. It worked sucidial thoughts stopped. Over the last few months I decreased the effexor slowly. This is my 3rd day effexor free. The dr. did not tell me it would be a trip in he–. I thought I was going crazy. I received no warning from the dr. of the phyisical and mental onslot of dizzy withdrawal symptoms. This is horrible but reading what you had to say is arming me for my appt. with my neurologist tomorrow. He had a lot of explaining to do. I can not believe I didn’t ask more ?’s befor I gave myself over to effexor…

April 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm
(128) Michele says:

Wow, reading all these posts makes me so angry! I also suffer terribly with withdrawal affects if I miss even a day of my dose now. I have been on 300mg of effexor xr for the past 5 years. I was on 450mg at one stage.

About 4 years ago, when it had stopped being as effective as it should, I was slowly taken off it and put on Avanza (which I hated). The withdrawal effects I had from Effexor was the worst experience I could ever imagine. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to go back on it because for some reason it keeps the awful pain of Fibromyalgia under control, though it barely skims the surface with my depression and if I go more than a day without it, I fall into the black hole of depression again.

I HATE IT! I hate the constant dry mouth and eyes. I hate the headache I get if i’m a few hours overdue from taking it and I HATE the fact that I am addicted to it!!

I have learned that it is only called ‘SSRI/SSNI Discontinuation Syndrome” because it is a pharmaceutical drug but would be classified as drug withdrawal the same as heroin or any other drug of addiction, if it were illegal. We are addicted to the Serotonin.

I have also discovered that some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced can last up to 2 years or to my dismay, be irreversible.

The first time I went off it, I experienced a terrible side effect where for about 5 days my libido was in a constant state of very PAINFUL arousal but NOTHING could be helped to relieve it. It was an AWFUL feeling – nothing pleasant in the slightest about it!!! Since that time, even though the drug used to make things take forever in the sexual department, it has ruined it completely and nothing works to help achieve climax. I was so hoping to find some article that would or could explain why or how long it would take to come back but it seems to be one of those things that effexor has caused to be irreversible. 4 years is already a long time.

For all those people out there that say they’ve come off it cold turkey – I’ve tried it. Nearly killed me. PLEASE don’t do it – It is SO DANGEROUS!

Good luck to everybody who’s trying to get off this horrible drug. I wish I could. For those who are able to access Wellbutrin in your country, I hope you realise how lucky you are, as it’s not available in mine.
Michele

April 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm
(129) Michele says:

By the way, the first time I was taken of effexor, it took about a month for the bad side effects to ease.

In the first week, severe constant agitation, uncontrollable temper, very close to aggressiveness, diminishing eyesight (to a stage where I thought I was going to end up blind) and hearing loss, yet also with the inability to tolerate any noise at the same time. The brain shocks, of course, which got so bad that I was scared to move my head, including the terrible headache that lasted weeks and felt like my head was too heavy for my shoulders and would fall off. Having to scratch the itches didn’t help the head problems. Being taken off it in the future scares the hell out of me!!!!
Michele

May 1, 2008 at 11:33 am
(130) pamela says:

I went to the neurologist on Monday (day 4 of my with drawle from effexor). He’s comments of of my nightmare were thats common, and you did withdrew the way you should and lets put you on prozac to soffen the “bump” were to say the least unproductive. I ask him why he didn’t warn me about the hellish aray of dizzy sick,brain zaps(which by the way I first read abouty brain zaps on this blog)not to mention walking the floor crying jags and a thought process that acts like my computer when I get a blue screen. The ability to multi task is comming back slowly. At this point I go from one task to another at the same time. I get the multiple tasks done in bits and pieces. For 4 days I couldn’t trust my ability to drive I had too many blue screen events. One moment I was aware and processing information in my brain then the next a blue screen. Every day is better but I still can’t go to work..Thank God for a wonderfull staff and my family…This is horrible….Please dont give in to this…hang in there. If I can get trough this I think I am going to run for president. I will have all the qualifications……blue screen and all.

May 2, 2008 at 7:22 pm
(131) Barbara DeRamus says:

I was told I have depression a month ago it’s been terrible really bad thought’s etc.My Dr. put me on 30mg.of cymbalta. I still feel kind of strange but I’m not having bad thought’s of wanting to hurt myself.Does anyone know anything about this medicine ? I have been reading horror stories about getting off medicine’s. I wonder if this stuff will do the same thing’s .

May 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm
(132) wish I'd just laid drunk says:

I have done what most have said as far as weaning off this poision effexor XR. I was put on it last Oct 3 months after loosing my father who battled lung cancer for two years (he never smoked one cigarette in his life). Started at the 37.5 and after 2 months upped to 150mg. decreased to 75 for 3 weeks and 37.5 for one week. I am on day 5 w/o it and thought I had the flu. Day 2 off this junk and I could not breathe due to sinus and chest congestion, ached all over, chilled all night, etc. Only had spuratic brain zaps until Day 4, (yesterday). I went to Churchill to the KY oaks and felt ok for a while, then the brain zaps kicked in. I had a 3 hour drive home and thought I was having mini strokes or something. Wasn’t sure I would make it home alive. Went straight to bed, took some Robitussion nitetime med for cold/flu which helped me sleep for about three hours, so I took another dose and 3 hrs later wide awake again, so I downed another shot. Did that four times. Did a google search for withdrawal off this shit and found this site. Also read that benadryl is supposed to help to so gonna buy some today. I’ve been hung over as hell 1,000 times b4 starting this poison and rather have all of them at once than the withdrawal I am having now. Hope they end soon. Good luck to all.

May 4, 2008 at 12:41 am
(133) Pamela says:

It’s day 10 after stopping effexor, I think. I still short circuit mentally but now it is just for a few seconds and not as often. Last night was my first night of being able to sleep even though I have been taking 12.5 mg. of amben. So far, every day gets alittle better. I do worry that I will continue to do my own version of computer blue screen brain for the rest of my days….I am going to change dr. Thank heavens for google and this blog….I am going to beat this. If I get this crap out of my system I am going to start cutting down on ambian. I don’t know if it helps anyone but I have never worked harder….I haven’t been at work for a week but I have planted 8 plants and every closet and dawer, crook and cranny is organized and I sanded some old wicker furniture and started to paint it. I did it in bits and pieces. I worked on something for five minutes walk across the room or yard would see something else to do and start another project. My organization skills seem to be missing. I feel nervous and off balanced…. Every day is better please, please everyone don’t let the crappy effexor win. Good luck to us all.

May 5, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(134) arlene says:

been on effexor for approx 8 years, tried cutting back a few years ago and couldnt. dropped from 150 a day to 75 about 2 years ago and seemed okay. have now decided to quit. began by cutting down to one 75 every 2 days for approx. 2-3 months and was feeling weird and attributed it to the water or new environment (lived in the same house for 27 yrs and have moved to another province). my physical symptoms are sweating off and on day and night, flu like symptoms that come and go, big time fatigue, dizziness, clumsiness, indigestion, farting (we know only men do that)and the odd nauseous feelings where i actually kept a bucket by my side just in case, but never threw up, weird craving for popsicles and ice cream which i thought strange, it isnt my food choice at all and it is winter – but i see others have this too, what does that mean? i am sweating right now big time, also pee a lot. but my take on this is my body is fighting to flush this shit from my system, so im drinking more water and will try to be positive about this. my mental symptoms? – brain seems to shut down for a milisecond and seems to ‘shake’ sometimes (bad description) racing thoughts, hope im done with the demented crying and laughing at the same time – felt like i would implode. fuzziness, lack of focus, and electrical-like bolts (my poor description)in my brain (doesnt hurt, but hard to explain) other things too many and not really serious enough to mention, just all over weirdness. i have not had any effexor for 5 days now, i will deal with this as positively as possible and realize its just me coming down from a drug.

one question i have is – what about charcoal tabs, does any one know if this is a good thing to take to help with the detox?

having read many peoples side effects, i think im not doing too badly and am determined to ride this out. i just need to get my ass up and in gear (im really tired a lot) i also believe (hope) that the brain will stabilize itself.

May 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm
(135) lisann says:

TO ARLENE: see comment 76 re charcoal.

It’s my 8th week off effexor and I am still getting brain zaps once in a blue moon. They just installed new carpet in my office which totally set off the brain zaps again. Nothing like before, but oh so irritating!!!! Hang in there everyone!

May 6, 2008 at 11:47 pm
(136) angil says:

This is bull sh##! Ive been on effexor for over 4 years – yeah it works great if you take it everyday-for depression and anxiety- but miss a dose or go off it completely- you’re screwed. I wonder if our Doctors get a kick back for perscribing this lethal concoction? Wyeth – the drug company has created a pandemic of drug addicts by selling this drug- and that just means more money in their pocket – and either our Doctors are ignorant and dont know enough about the drug or they are also pocketing some $$$. I have tried several times to go off effexor- this time it has been 3 days, and it sucks. I have all of the symptoms that have been described. In the past when I have questioned my doctors, and even pharmasist, as to how to get off effexor – NO ONE had an answer. Can someone tell me that all these side effects actually go away for good, or do I have to live like this? PLEASE – if anyone knows of a Class Action Law Suit regarding effexor, Let me in on it- they have created a society of drug addicts- and damnit we didnt even get to enjoy the effects.

May 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm
(137) Pamela says:

It has been around 15 days without effexor. Still no migrain…thank you God……I am having less nausea. I am black and blue from tripping, running into, dropping and breaking assorted objects… I ran into the bathroom door jam last weedend….the blue green lump looks great with my green eyes. The other symptoms of withdrawl are less frequent and less severe as the days pass. I hate the disconnect sensation the most. The brain zaps are less also. I think the drs are just use to treating us like sheep…and the more patients they have the less human each of us become to them….time is money to them. No one likes to be seen as a pushy jerk so we don’t force them to answer our ?’s…I think I will like being thought of as a royal bitch opposed to going through this crappy nightmare…..I will survive. (I think that is a song)….Everyone let me know how you are doing because it gives me hope and motivates me to keep on keeping on……Pamela

May 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm
(138) lisann says:

8 WEEKS WITHOUT EFFEXOR! Once in a blue moon still I get that little brain zap, dizzy, nausiating thing when I strain my eyes or head sideways, like driving and looking backwards over my shoulder, or strong smells bring on that brain zappy thing. Otherwise all is good!

I haven’t seen any class action law suits yet, but……
The below is at least a start.

IF YOU HAVE HAD A PROBLEM WITH EFFEXOR:

US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/THE FDA SAFETY INFORMATION AND ADVERSE EVENT REPORTING PROGRAM FORM
IS LOCATED:

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/getforms.htm

I forwarded this form to both my Dr.’s with a letter and have not heard from either one of them. If I performed my job as poorly as they do, (and I believed these to be good doctors) than I’d have been fired by now. You can send the form in yourself also as I did but I don’t know the buzz words to get their attention. That’s even if they read any of them.

Hang in there everyone! You aren’t alone and it gets better!

May 19, 2008 at 5:52 pm
(139) annalisa says:

I feel for all of you. I’ve not read all of the comments but enough to feel (again) exactly what you’re all going through. I’ve suffered with chronic clinical depression for over 25 years now and have been on so many different antidepressants that I’ve lost count! I was on Effexor for a long time and then complained to my psychiatrist that I thought there must be something out there that would make me feel even better. My doctor is very well known and highly esteemed in this area for his pharmacalogical knowledge and the use of different combinations of meds. I can say with all honesty that he has saved my life more than once!

Anyway, I was just positive that there must be something out there that would make me feel even better than I did on the Effexor. My mistake! I was tapered off Effexor extremely slowly and while I did have some of the effects you all speak of (especially the “zaps” and “zings,” which I thought would drive me over the edge!) in retrospect I’ve suffered through many extremely depressed periods not to mention debilitating panic attacks that were much worse.

To make a long story short, I got off the Effexor XR totally and then tried three or four other antidepressants which did not work for me nearly as well as the Effexor. So after all that time, misery, and hell, I ended up going back on Effexor XR and remain on it to this day. Before beginning the Effexor again, my doctor told me that while he understood I wanted to feel “wonderful!,” the fact was that I suffer from a very serious disease and, as much as I did not want to accept it, perhaps I NEEDED to accept that, for me, Effexor XR was the best of all medications available right now. All three of my adult daughters are on antidepressants and have been for a number of years. For them, other drugs have worked better than Effexor XR.

As we all know, what works best for one does not work best for all. We’re all different. I did want to stress, however, that if you or your doctor feel that Effexor XR is not the med for you, tapering off of it very slowly is KEY and should lessen some of those awful withdrawal symptoms you’re experiencing. My doc even admitted afterwards that if he were even to take me off Effexor again, he would do it even slower than he did before.

I know what it’s like to want to put one drug behind us and get on with trying another that we hope will be the “miracle worker” we’re all looking for. Unfortunately, the breakthroughs in this area of medicine have not happened as quickly as we would all like them to.

My best to all of you!

May 23, 2008 at 9:00 pm
(140) Richard says:

I’m down to a minimal dosage right now (1/4 of a 37.5mg tab) and I can’t even do the math to figure out how many mgs that is. And my career is in finance, so you can see what a brain cloud I’m in.

Briefly, I began on 225mg about 4 years ago. About 2 years ago, I began weaning myself down Ė against my doctor’s wishes, BTW Ė and met various degrees of success. Today I’m at the low dose mentioned above and next week, I plan to end taking it altogether.

My symptoms now are brain cloud, lack of concentration, ears ringing, impaired vision, headaches, BAD insomnia, VERY high blood pressure, unpredictable anger or upset (which my girlfriend is not supportive of, but that’s another story), lack of physical coordination (having difficulty typing this, for example), lack of sexual interest (see comment about g/f again), hot flashes (I’m a guy!), lost sense of humor and a general disconnectedness from life.

When I work out, I find that the symptoms go away for an hour or two, so I’ve really been doing that quite a bit. Maybe that fact will help others too. My trainer suggested more carbs to “feed the brain”, so I’ll try that beginning tomorrow. Also, given what I’ve learned on this wonderful board, I’ll try some activated charcoal and ginger when I go to the market tonight. Actually, I’ll try pretty much anything at this point.

My plan is to stick with it for a couple of months. Judging from what I’ve read here, that’s how long I should expect to continue to feel these dreadful side effects. Unfortunately, my inclination is to make a few jokes about this, but my brain is so cloudy and fuzzy that I can barely think, much less be creatively funny about the situation. Thank goodness for Paul’s comment above about effex anonymous. That was pretty funny Ė at least in my current state.

Finally, thanks to all on this board who have posted their stories. This helps immensely, especially those who continue posting over a number of weeks (lisann, Pamela, Karen and the others). Those ongoing postings offer milestones and give hope for us all. I’ll try to do the same, assuming I get through this. WOW Ė my doctor is going to get an earful the next time I see her!!!

May 23, 2008 at 9:25 pm
(141) Alice says:

Can’t remember when I first was prescribed Effexor XR but would like to get off it. My head sweats profusely, my muscles feel fatigued and I can’t get motivated to do anything special, like gardening. I haven’t had the brain shivers but I hate the world and people in it when I’m off Effexor for a few days. I get flashbacks from places I’ve been at the weirdest moments, and have or remember many dreams (not all unpleasant). I take Ambien to sleep. I think it is the muscle weakness that bothers me the most and wanting to sleep all the time. I have heart disease so that contributes to tiredness. Prozac affected the muscle weakness after I took it for a while too. Doctors don’t seem to want to hear about it.

May 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm
(142) Megan says:

I am so happy that I found you all! I am on day 5 off of Effexor. I have been on every anti-depressant out there and Effexor gave me the best results. BUT when I hit 112 mg, I had the WORST NIGHTMARES of my life! Rape, incest- strange!
The only reason I went off Effexor was because of weight gain. I am usually a size 4 and today I bought a size 10! Eek! The interesting thing is that I saw my doctor today due to dizziness and eye pain and he went to a conference yesterday (everything happens for a reason :) ) And he said that I am having size effects.

ANOTHER extremely important thing is that he said at the conference that they are finding that people are being misdiagnosed as having anxiety, when they are actually Bipolar. This is why every antidepressant I have been on made me suicidal after being on them for about 6 months (Zoloft being the worst). I am so much happier now that I am on Wellbutrin- the best thing on the market and the SAFEST!. I thought I was mentally ill ON medication Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, you name it! I am now going to be evaluated for Bipolar, which I am sure I am since I have been having panic attacks since I was 6!

May 24, 2008 at 12:20 am
(143) Richard says:

Update for my comment #117 above.

Tonight, as advertised, I went to the local Whole Foods Market (on Alabama St., if you’re in Houston) looking for the activated charcoal and ginger. I talked with the VERY knowledgeable woman who was working the area for supplements. After a short while I was comfortable (and dingy) enough to tell her what I “really” wanted these two supplements for. She was totally ON THE PROGRAM. She even had personal experience with friends trying to get off effex.

The upshot of the conversation was this –

Yes, the activated charcoal helps. Take one or two capsules per day with a light snack, but not with any other supplement or drug or regular meal. You might feel a little constipation, but overall the activated charcoal seems to help Ė as has been mentioned above by others. Oh, and just buy the cheapest bottle, as branding doesn’t matter.

Use fresh ginger, and not the ginger pills. Just grind or grate a thin slice (about Ĺ teaspoon) in your regular food. Do this twice a day. You can also dry the fresh ginger and make a tea, but I like the taste of ginger, so I plan to go the fresh route.

This is new Ė take turmeric! I told her I had the spice at home, but she said that I needed to take more than my mouth or stomach would be happy about, if I just took the raw spice. She recommended Turmeric Force by New Chapter. The plan is to take one or two of those capsules per day. She also mentioned that the turmeric should be taken with food or a meal and NOT with the activated charcoal.

While this wasn’t mentioned above, the purpose of all this is to increase blood flow through your liver and increase circulation in your brain area. This will help clear out all the toxic effex (and its metabolites) more quickly. That alone should reduce the time of recovery Ė or so she said. That has been her experience anyway.

In addition, the Whole Foods woman also said to eat as many deep green vegetables as possible, and as many cruciferous vegetables as possible. She suggested for green Ė spinach, broccoli, kale, etc. For cruciferous Ė broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Also supplement with a good dose of B vitamins.

Since I just got this info tonight, I have no idea if it will help, but I thought I would pass it along. This woman seemed so very competent and was so sure of how this program has helped her personal friends specifically with effex. None of it seems harmful, so I’m definitely going to try it beginning tomorrow.

I’ll keep you posted.

May 28, 2008 at 5:27 am
(144) Marcelle says:

I feel for all of you and after reading everyones letters I am terrified to come off my Paxil. Best I just stay on it.

May 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm
(145) Richard says:

Day 5 with no effexor.

To recap, over a fairly long time, I weaned myself from 225mg/day down to 37.5mg/day (this was half a 75mg tablet). I stayed on that dose for about a year when I decided to “go all the way” and get rid of this drug.

About 3 weeks ago, I cut that half tablet in half so that I began taking 18.75mg per day. That was very troublesome, and I felt the withdrawal effects almost immediately. But I stuck with it, especially while feeling the support from this board, and trying a few other things to manage the dreadful effects.

I’ve made a couple of posts about this, and here’s what I’ve found that works for me – so far. In the order of how effective they seem to be –

Prozac helps. I took half a 40mg capsule every other day, and have now dropped that to every third day. No need to worry about Prozac withdrawal since the dosage is so small, and because of its very long half life, it’s self-weaning.

Sudafed really helps the brain cloud. Don’t use that new “PE” stuff, as it’s useless. Get the “good stuff – old version” you have to ask your pharmacist for. And, of course, take it in the morning, as it will keep you from sleeping otherwise. But it definitely helps the brain cloud.

Added exercise definitely helps.

The turmeric and activated charcoal help. (see my post #120 about this)

The added carbohydrates in the form of Whole Grain Bread seemed to help.

Alcohol sometimes helps, but you really can’t overdo it because of the possibility of rebound depression.

Oddly enough I don’t feel depressed. I know my sense of humor and my ability to “be funny” are only returning very slowly Ė very slowly.

I notice that I’m a little more emotional than usual, and get teary-eyed far more often, like at movies and listening to certain situations. But, then again, a very good friend of mine died over the weekend, and my girlfriend left me (not willing to go through the ups and downs of my withdrawal with me), so I could also say that my life hasn’t been without its own emotional drama either. Who knows about that?

The important thing is that I’m beginning to see some of these symptoms in myself instead of just feeling like an emotionless zombie all the time. That in itself is an improvement.

Others on this board say that it will take about a month of no effexor to get rid of most of the symptoms. I’m looking forward to that day.

All for now. Will continue to post, as I continue with the withdrawal.

May 30, 2008 at 1:05 pm
(146) Amy says:

I was on 150 effexor last year…initially helped me lose 16 pounds, I think because it helped me get rid of the depression that I’ve been prone to all my adult life (hereditary I believe). Then, after several months, I began to regain that weight…by the end of the year (about 10 months total), I had regained the 16 PLUS another 13. Now, there WAS added stress at work and I probably deserved a few of those pounds for my bad snacking habits, but I didn’t do much worse than I have before in the past, so I think a total of 39 pounds in 6 months is excessive. I self-weaned off of it because my doctor moved away and I didn’t want to make an appt. to discuss how to stop meds. I did it the way she told me before… 150 to 75 for 2 weeks, then 37.5 for 2 weeks. Mild brain “zaps” on the 37.5. Then I had a month of mild zaps before they went away entirely. Nothing much worse than the second day after skipping a dose, so no worries.

BUT, this year, met new doctor since depression was recurring, told her effexor helped (I could kick my butt in retrospect)and she gladly put me back on it. Worked great, but now in retrospect, I see a lot of symptoms that I had (weight gain, low libido,sweating, etc.) And recently it wasn’t helping my depression as much, so she had me wean off while simultaneously going on Wellbutrin. Day one was last Sat., by day 2 I was SOOO nauseous (unlike before) and I thought it was just acid reflux due to stress returning. Thankfully, Tagamet helped with that and the subsequent day 3 nausea. I tried Dramamine for the dizziness, but it didn’t help. I had had the “zaps” before, so didn’t mind them so much. Kinda like a hangover on steroids. But the “itchy, bitchy, sweaty, flu-like symptoms were awful! My husband and I had it out and he talked about moving out! Now, we’ve had our differences, but we’ve always worked it out, especially since we have two young daughters (2 and 6). But this was different. I said some things I thought were truthful but that I now see really hurt him. Thankfully, I’ve talked with him about the info I’ve gained on this withdrawal crap and he’s understanding. He suffers from chronic fatigue off and on, so he can somewhat sympathize since many of the symptoms are similar.

I’m now on Day 7, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, EXCEPT… not only did I “catch a cold” (my youngest daughter always brings us lovely things like that), but I’ve had unusual headaches that Sudafed won’t help (it usually works wonders), crying at the drop of a hat, and what is really freaking me out is that I have a SWOLLEN TONGUE. It started out as a swollen taste bud that I attributed to eating too many salty chips one day, but it migrated for lack of a better word to other taste buds and now the entire sides of the back of my tongue are tender and the entire front top and sides are excruciatingly sore. I’m hungry, but can’t each much until I get frustrated and feel like crying from the pain!

Has anyone else had a swollen tongue from Effexor w/d? I’ve read a ton of website postings and medication info and I haven’t seen that anywhere. Maybe I have foot and mouth disease without the sore foot! My feet are about the only place not hurting! I’ve recently had awful itching in my nether region (my heinie as we say in the south), and I’ve rubbed it so much it’s bleeding! Then there’s the cold symptoms, the God awful sore tongue, the leg muscle soreness for no good reason, the random hot flashes/sweats, and all the emotional stuff.

I’m wondering now if I’m allergic to the Wellbutrin as well as coming down from effexor. Got a call in to my doctor finally to discuss… can’t take much more breaking down on me!

Thanks to all for sharing and for letting me vent as well.

June 2, 2008 at 8:43 pm
(147) Richard says:

Day 10 with no effexor.

The cloudy brain is not as bad as it has been, but it’s still present – for sure. Exercise and the Prozac help that, as well as an occasional Sudafed.

I’ve taking the 20mg of Prozac only once since the last post 5 days ago, and that definitely helps. I don’t care for the sexual side effects of the Prozac, but the sexual side effects of the effex are no fun either, so that’s pretty much of a wash – especially if the Prozac helps me get through this withdrawal.

Overall, I’m continuing to feel better and better. Exercise makes a noticeable difference – very noticeable, in fact. I also began using melatonin and am sleeping much better. (Note that melatonin must be taken “immediately” before falling into bed – NOT 30 minutes or an hour before bedtime.) I’ve continued on the diet and supplement regimen that I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, as that seems to be contributing to my overall recovery. In any event, I don’t want to disturb the current program because I really am getting better!!

Occasionally, I notice some occasional depression, but that is very occasionally, and I haven’t been worried about it thus far. It’s all OK, as long as I get rid of this demon effex, in my opinion.

Will continue to post as the recovery (hopefully) progresses.

June 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm
(148) richard wilson says:

ive tried decreasing the dosage now for a month….i get these brain zaos fromhell, im irritable, anxious, klonopin cant work with this—only alcohol helps…..anyone else drink to ease the withdrawals???

June 8, 2008 at 1:37 pm
(149) Richard says:

Two weeks without effexor.

It’s now been more than two weeks since I’ve been completely off this demon drug. The withdrawal symptoms are subsiding fairly rapidly, and I’m beginning to feel like my whole self again. Rather than to spam this board with weekly posts, I think I’ll give another update in a month or so Ė just because things seem to be going so much better now.

Meanwhile, here are a few observations that might help someone/anyone.

It seems to me that the brain zaps are more of a problem for those who use the XR version instead of the rapid release version. Once I moved to the “regular” effexor, I didn’t have nearly the problem with the brain zaps when trying to reduce my dosage.

After SLOWLY weaning down to 37.5mg, here are the things that helped the most Ė in the order of how much they helped.

PROZAC Ė take 20mg whenever you feel like it. This seriously reduces the symptoms of effexor withdrawal.

SUDAFED very much helped the brain cloud Ė just be sure to take it in the AM, or you won’t sleep.

ALCOHOL Ė if used judiciously, a glass or two of wine seemed to ease the withdrawal effects

EXERCISE Ė this was wonderful, but the effects only lasted a couple of hours after the workout. Nevertheless, the feeling I got after a vigorous exercise kept reminding me how well I was going to feel after my withdrawal was complete.

RAW GINGER ADDED TO A HEALTHY DIET Ė I can’t say enough about how this helped with the brain cloud, plus there were no side effects.

TIME Ė it just takes time, so be patient.

I hope this helps. We can all get through this, if we are diligent and patient. Good luck to all, and I’ll keep reading about each of you, but will only post in a couple of weeks.

June 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(150) Hannah says:

I dont know how much longer I can stand this. It has been 5 days. Im sick, zappy, itchy, crying every hour, yelling at my family. All while breastfeeding. I am stopping for the baby. I am crying again, will this ever end? Does it go away? I would rather die than live like this forever. My doctor won’t listen, says its not possible at having been on 37.5 mgs for such a long time. This is my final attempt at getting off, having tried and failed 3 times before. The first time I went cold turkey, I was 6 weeks pregnant and lost the baby in the same week I quit effexor. I hope those bastards at Wyeth rot. I need some encouragement. Someone please tell me honestly they feel better. I am not going back on effexor, but I cant go on like this, not knowing if it will be better. Nobody understands this nightmare except other “effexers”. Id like to effex someone at Wyeth right now.

June 13, 2008 at 1:46 am
(151) Richard says:

Hannah, the last 37.5mg is the toughest, regardless what your doctor says. But you CAN manage this. It will take about a month from start to finish, and you’ve already gone a week.

Look at some of my earlier posts, and you might give this a try.

Take 20mg of Prozac. Take it again the next day, if you feel that you need to. Continue with that, but only as needed for your anger/crying/depression. You shouldn’t have any difficulty with Prozac withdrawal, and there are numerous articles online about this.

For your cloudy brain, take Sudafed (the old good stuff, and not that new PE stuff). Be sure to do that only in the AM.

If you have any Xanax or something like that, you may give that a try at night to help manage your anxiety and itchiness. Benedryl might help in that regard too.

I’ve posted above other ideas that helped me, and each seemed to work in their own way. Maybe they’ll help you too.

Hannah, you seem to be a tough cookie, so remember that you WILL get through this. NO JOKE! Just try to manage the symptoms, and they’ll begin to subside in 10 days or so, and then significantly begin to decrease.

You’ll be fine. Just hang in there.

Hope this helps.

June 16, 2008 at 2:51 am
(152) louise says:

I am sooo glad I decided to look for this heading on google. and thank god for google! and for all of you! I had been on prozac for many, many years and then ended up in the looney tune bin anyway! It was there they told me I was taking way too many mg of Prozac and it obviously was not working, so they put me on effexor. Oh my God. 300 mg/day. I went down to 150 mg a day for the past few years, but have not been able to sleep because of awful nightmares that never stop and wake up exhausted. A couple of times I forgot to take a dose and went through these horrible things. What made me look for these articles tonight was that for the past 2 weeks I have had that “vertigo”-type stuff going on. And horrible headaches. I knew it was not vertigo because I had vertigo once before and that was dizzy… this is not dizzy.. it lightheadedness with eye spasms (thanks for that phrase, because I could not describe it) and even head/neck spasms (felt like Katherine hepburn). I have terrible chills just like others said. Like I felt like I had the flu. I’m also having trouble typing because of the chills and eye spasms and guess what, I’m a medical transcriptionist. Very helpful, huh? I want to thank all who have posted. I am sitting here crying because I am so relieved I am not losing my mind or dying or something. I will show this to my husband in the morning, who said he was taking me to the doctor because of all these symptoms. I will try to trudge on and get off this awful stuff. thanks again.

June 18, 2008 at 9:17 pm
(153) Brigitte says:

I had never heard of brain zaps until a co-worker told me about it.. I was getting them while taking the effexor and told my doctor I needed my dosage changed, he upped the dosage from 75mg to 150mg.. The night sweats were unbearable. I thought I was pre-menapausal!
My OB told me the effexor was causing the night sweats and said I should switch to Welbutrin.. SO it has been 5 days.. without effexor.. I am so worried that these zaps won’t end.. The brain zaps are bad in the evening for some reason.. I am still able to function but it is very depressing to feel this way..Reading some of these comments has helped, I seriously thought I have brain damage! Knowing I am not the only one feeling this way gives me hope,I just pray that I won’t have to live with these zaps forever! I want to know why doctors are still prescribing this drug!

June 20, 2008 at 11:47 am
(154) Hannah says:

Thanks Richard! I went to a Naturopath since my Western Doc thinks I’m full of sh*t. He put me on Vitamin B Stress with Rhodiola Rosea extract by Sisu, Nutrasea DHA and Omega 3 Fish Oil. He recommends a Liver support regimen, but that has to wait because I am nursing a 5 month old. I am relieve and absolutely ecstatic to report the brain/eye zapping is subsiding a tiny bit each day. It has been 15 days since my last 37.5 dose. My doc wont give me the prozac. I am also taking an antinauseant I took while pregnant when the nausea is debilitating. I have explained to my 5 year old that mommy stopped taking medicine and because of that my brain got angry. How do you explain this? When your own physician refuses to believe you have discontinuation syndrome. I feel so betrayed. Thanks for the support and msg. Richard. I highly recommend the support of a Naturopath. He also recommended a Bach Flower remedy. I am skeptical, but I do believe we are all composed of energy as the glue that holds our cells together, so who knows? Maybe some plant vibration or however it works will be great. Fingers crossed for everyone.

June 21, 2008 at 7:25 pm
(155) Caren says:

With all these withdrawal symptoms that I am experiencing from that damned Effexor, I couldn’t sit down and search at the computer for remedies for the withdrawal due to confusion and malaise. OK… we are all experiencing it. Now what do we do? Thank you SO much Richard for posting these ideas to help. I want to reach through the computer and give you a hug!! Finally, things to try to do to help! Will report back in a week.

June 22, 2008 at 11:24 pm
(156) Rhonda says:

Hey Dear Friends ~ I feel like you are my friends. I have read every one of your entries, felt your pain and cried with you.
It’s been over 3 weeks since my last dose and I’m still having headaches. The brain zzzt’s are distant now (but still there) and it feels like Iím listening from inside a seashell. I will spare you ALL the details, but it sounds so familiar.

Wish I had researched Effexor XR withdrawal symptoms prior to the weaning process. I would have known the nausea, vomiting, vertigo, headaches, joint pain, lost weight, blurred vision, bleeding gums, inflamed sinuses, agitation, nightmares, sweating, chills, diarrhea, hysterical crying spells, hearing problems, heart palpitations, hallucinations, etc… were related.
The good news is most of it has leveled out! Iím finally up to 3 meals a day and not losing my lunch!!! (So much for sparing you the details huh?)

Those of you that are in the beginnings of your withdrawals: IT DOES GET BETTER and YOU CAN DO IT. THERE IS HOPE! Make sure the people you share your life with know what you are going through and what the symptoms are. They are there to love you through this ~ even when you feel like poop and want no one around.

God Be With You and Yours

May 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(157) JACKIE says:

Thank you for your post.. Day 6 off Effexor and feeling so horrible and hopeless..

June 25, 2008 at 5:29 am
(158) louise says:

Hi again.

I am having quite a tough time. My husband took me to the doctor and he got angry with me saying there is no withdrawal. His suggestion was to “get off it, if you’re so sure it’s what is causing your symptoms”. He gave me a week of 75 mg and a week of 37.5 mg. I had already been off it for 3 days, so I told my husband I just wanted to keep going. I cannot swallow a pill (ironic, huh?) so i can’t take all the naturopath stuff and such, but I do make sure I eat lots of green veggies and fruit and have been drinking lots of water. I got a strange effect a couple of days ago. An insistent cough, like I had a bad cold, but no cold… I coughed so bad, I wrenched my back while trying to sleep. Now I have that to deal with. Any suggestions? I have trouble keeping my “katherine hepburn” head and neck and eyes stilled. On the plus side, I have lost 10 pounds and not from not eating. I am eating very healthy especially compared to what I used to eat. I have absolutely lost my craving for sweets! This is years and years of problems with sweets. I had two cookies the other night and did not even want more? How weird is that? I am still achy, though and today had an episode sitting at my desk, where the whole top of my desk went vertical! For a split second I thought we were having a huge earthquake but quickly realized nothing on my desk was amiss. I had to grab on in that millisecond. It was horrifying! HElp!

June 27, 2008 at 12:59 pm
(159) Diane says:

I dont know if brain shivers is what I am experiencing but it defines this wretched feelin best. This is the second time in 6 mo. Both times I was cutting down or off the effexor for a very very shot=rt time, with in a couple days….dizziness, when I lay still I cant read. eyes open look to right and left instant dizziness, and swoosh swoosh swoosh like hearing the blood rushing through my ears. This does not happen looking up or down. I cant drive. I am having these symptoms as I type this comment. take a deep breath, nauseana ddizzy. crying all the time cause I am scared. I have taken this crap into my system for about 7 yrs. 75mg. 3′s a morn. that is 225 mg. daily. Along with Tegretol 300mg. Tegretol 2x pr day, and Buspirone 30mg 2′x pr day. I am really worried about what will happen when I get off of the other two meds. The Dr. said I had an inner ear infection and to take sudafed to decongest my inner ears and dramamine for the nausea…..more pills……….crying

June 27, 2008 at 1:31 pm
(160) Diane says:

Me again, I am reading more of the comments and shocked. Nightmares? YES. i now sleep in a different bedroom from husband, past yr. due to kicking and hitting out and screaming with nightmares. I wake him up from the other room some times with my screaming. monsters, people chasing me, bloody, torture. We love each other, but he said it is living with a room mate with benefits sometimes and then I just tell him good nite and go to my own room. I could care less about the benefits my self.

June 29, 2008 at 11:04 am
(161) Brigitte says:

Good Morning! OK it’s been 2 weeks that I have been off the effexor. I feel like a new person. This is the first weekend I have not slept away or felt foggy. I didn’t realize how much the drug effected my life until I was not taking it anymore. I still get brain zaps, but they are not as severe and my brain does not feel like it’s wrapped in barbed wire. I still have crying spells but they are tapering off too. I just want to let you know if you can hold out.. it does get better. Keep in mind I am taking Welbutrin XR instead. I didn’t wean off effexor, I just did a switch from effexor to Webutrin. I am so surprised in the change that I will make sure to let everyone I know how terrible the symtoms of effexor can be. I never want to feel that way again, and I hate the fact that so many people suffer from the drug effexor.
Hang in there, it will get better!

June 29, 2008 at 3:17 pm
(162) Richard says:

Thanks for all the kind comments (esp. Caren and Hannah) and voices of support on this page. After a month now, I feel that I’m seeing some significant progress. I’m pretty sure the withdrawal is reaching its end, but that still leaves me with the depression to deal with. Right now, I’m not so sure how to deal with that, but I’m very sure I won’t be dealing with it by using more of this demon drug.

Meanwhile, I was doing a bit of research this morning, and ran across something that might be of interest to the group. A number of people on this site have tried to taper off by taking a dose of effex only every other day. That’s always bothered me, and this is what I’ve found.

This is not a good idea simply because the half-life of effex is so short. The only SSRI or SNRI that has a long enough half-life for that strategy to work is Prozac. Once should wean off each of the others by reducing the daily dose only. Here’s the reference Ė (BTW, I found this on http://www.topix.com/forum/drug/effexor/TFGP6327RHJSEG1QP
which is also a very good site and community about effex withdrawal.

Since I can’t italicize, I’ll just use begin/end.

(Begin quote) On these antidepressants the split dose/miss-a-day schedules often herald a worsening scenario, due to the short half-lives of the drugs involved. Glenmullen states (p.97), in his book on antidepressant withdrawal ‘The Antidepressant Solution’:

“Q. Can antidepressants be taken every other day as part of tapering off them?

A. None of the short acting antidepressants should be taken every other day as a way of tapering them. Because of their short half-lives, the every other day schedule can result in roller coaster levels of the drugs and roller coaster levels of withdrawal symptoms. This is true for Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro, Luvox, Effexor, Cymbalta, Serzone, Remeron, and Wellbutrin.

Since Prozac is long-acting, it is the one antidepressant that can be taken every other day as part of tapering the drug. Because of Prozac’s long half-life, patients on every other day schedules typically do not notice the difference between the days when they take the dose and the days when they do not. Because Prozac lingers so long in the body, the fluctuation in the level of the drug are typically not great enough to produce withdrawal symptoms. For most patients, taking 20mg of Prozac every other day is equivalent to taking 10mg a day. Occasionally patients taking Prozac every other day will notice the difference and then one can return to daily dosing.

But with all the other antidepressants, every other day dosing should be avoided”

You’ve experienced a cold-turkey withdrawal. If you wish to find out about the withdrawal process, consider getting a copy of Glenmullen’s book, which will talk you through the process, and show you how to taper in accordance with your body’s reaction to a dose drop.

The opening chapter and appendices are available online: http://www.prozacbacklash.com/

(end quote)

I hope that will help some of us who were experiencing the extreme roller-coaster symptoms.

Another site that I STRONGLY recommend is http://www.crazymeds.us.

As you might tell from the name, it’s devoted entirely to psychiatric meds and their side effects and withdrawals. As you might also tell, it takes an irreverent point of view and is NOT written by doctors Ė only by patients, such as you and me. I’ve found lots of good information, and wonderful solutions to many drug problems on this site. (Contribution funded Ė super duper double delicious excellent site!!) :-)

All for now. I hope this helps. We need all the help and support we can get!

(Sorry for the long post.)

June 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm
(163) Caren says:

I have been totally off that damn effexor for 2 weeks now. The discontinuation symptoms are slowly subsiding. I’m still getting the brain zzzztttt, zzzzzttt’s but not nearly as bad, usually only when I am tired. One suggestion that really helped me was using the Sudafed for brain fogginess and lethargy. Since one of the symptoms is also the cold symptoms without the cold, I used Advil Cold and Sinus (has the Sudafed in it) and it worked great. The one symptom that doesn’t seem to be letting up is the digestive tract one. I’m also taking Krill Oil and Magnesium Malate and trying to eat more raw foods to rebalance my body.

Keep at it people, it does get better. And educate others on this drug and others like it. I wouldn’t wish this withdrawal on my worst ememy!

Let everyone know what is working for you. We are all in this together.

July 1, 2008 at 11:46 am
(164) chris says:

three month off lexapro, depakote…longer for xanax.Ear ringing,involuntary muscle movement in feet and legs.Heart racing.Anxiety and depression returned but will never go near the meds again.Life trashed due to drugs.Earlier withdrawals almost killed me, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I pray for you all.

July 23, 2008 at 8:59 pm
(165) jada says:

wow. I wish my doc. had told me of the possibility of more than just “flu-like symptoms” or “brain lightning”. Like many of you, I’m getting nausea (almost everything smells bad and makes me want to vomit, but I can’t so I just get nauseated and diarrhea instead) and the weird body tremors whenever I move my eyes from side to side too quickly (which is all day). Kind of feels like I’ve just gotten off a long elevator ride, over and over and over… But it sounds like most people are glad to be off of it once they’re past this stage, so I’ll wait it out. (I had been on effexor xr since Nov. 2007, and it was a God-send at first, aside from the fish-bowl-brain feeling. I started tapering from 150mg to 112.5 for a week, then 75 for a week, then three days at 37.5 because I was stubborn and ready to be done. Five days of no effexor and wondering if I should take a few grains each day now just to alleviate the withdrawal? maybe just sweat it out…) Thanks for the camaraderie!

July 23, 2008 at 11:47 pm
(166) kim says:

I’m so glad I stumbled across this site!
Richard.. Thankyou so much for your advice! Sudafed & excercise do help greatly. I have yet to try the rest.
I was on 300mg of Effexor for about a year (yes, it is a high dosage. Crap shrink should never of given me so much, when I said I was getting worse he just saturated me with so much of this drug I didn’t know what was going on really).
On 4th June my GP prescribed me Topamax & had me taper down effexor in 75mg increments weekly. Once I hit 75mg, I stayed there for a month. I’ve now been cold turkey for 11 days.
I had NO idea about withdrawl symptoms until I stumbled upon something on the net about 2 days ago. I thought everything I was experiencing must be due to my illness, Topamax, or combination.
I felt so lost, spinning out of control. What a relief to know where these symptoms are coming from & that I’m not alone!!
Now that I’ve gone 11 days, I guess there’s no point in taking any.. I’ll stick it out. But, I’ve had no relief of symptoms, I hope they go away before I waste another year not being able to complete my studies.
My love goes out to u all, good luck.

July 25, 2008 at 9:24 pm
(167) Doreen says:

So glad I found this site. I was on Prozac for 17 years (have suffered from depression since age 10 but was not diagnosed until my late twenties)and found it just was not working for me anymore. I’ve now been off it for approximately 8 weeks and was started on Wellbutrin XL 150mg while tapering off the Prozac (I was on a very high dose of 80mg per day.) My psychiatrist never warned me about withdrawal symptoms. Well, I must say it has been hell. Half the time I don’t know whether I am depressed or just experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It is reassuring to know I am not the only one but it still sucks.

July 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm
(168) Brett says:

I have been on effexor for alittle over a year now. A couple day’s ago I ran out and needed to get a new script from my doctor. I went to the doctor’s office to get some samples and a perscription. The lady at the desk said they no longer have the sample’s and that effexor had been taken off the market. That was on thur. it is now sun. and I am going thru the worst withdraws from this medication. I get vertigo constintly, this wierd feeling in my head(i now know it is being referd to as brain shivers). I am so irretable and moody. My wife doesnt even want to be near me.

July 27, 2008 at 5:55 pm
(169) Brett says:

Does anyone know how long these withdraw symptoms last? I was on 150 mg of effexor and had to stop cold turkey because they pulled it off the market. I had always heard it is very dangerous to stop taking cold turkey. I cant really do anything but suffer I guess because this drug from hell was dicontinued. I will never take anything like this again. Thanks Doc…………..

July 28, 2008 at 10:25 am
(170) Chris says:

I’m in middle of Paxil withdrawal and I have to say it’s a living hell. It’s worse than the bipolar depression it was supposed to treat. I cry for no reason for hours at a time. I’m dizzy and if I move my eyes at all I get strange electrical zaps that go through my head and down the right side of my body. I’m sweaty, cold and clammy, have a sore throat and just generally feel like I have the flu. I get so irritable that I even hate myself. I tapered down EXACTLY how the doctor told me. I’m having to take Ativan just to calm myself down and I very rarely ever used my Ativan (only if I was having a panic attack). If I saw the president of Glaxo at this point I think I would slap him/her.

July 30, 2008 at 9:17 pm
(171) Richard says:

I have been taking 40mg of prozac for many many years. During that time I have been stable but always sleepy, no energy, just plain numb. I have finally said “I’m done!” I knew there would be withdrawls but I had hoped it would only be a week or so. I am on week two (I think) and feel like really bad. Fuzzy, light headed, headaches and this feeling of out of body. Like I am a shell. Hard to concentrate and I have this care less attitude. Anyway ..

July 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm
(172) Shannan says:

Well after reading some of the comments I am feeling scared and discouraged…I have been on Prozac for 10 years and 3 on effexor..I changed the Prozac because of sexual side effects …I have weaned myself off effexor during a five month time. It wasn’t bad at all but I did it different than the other times I tried….I found a book that tells you how to get off of it and what natural supplements to take….5 htp, folic acid, omega 3′s etc….the only thing is that I have been completely free for 2 months and I feel crazy now …crying, angry very angry, lethargic, gaining weight, muscle pain, I don’t know if I can handle this, it was easier weaning off than staying off…I compare myself to a year ago and I was happy and content but I hated being on these pills, I am very active in nutrition and was able to get off everthing else no problem, but these are wicked…..the nausea and bowel pains are ridiculous, sex ha what’s that….I thought it was bad not wanting any before the pills well its way worse now…..I don’t want to go back but I hate the way I am feeling…my husband wants me back on them..I am not a nice person to live with…but I don’t want to give in…I worked so hard to get off them, I hope these symptoms ease up soon..2 months is a long time to be grumpy

August 1, 2008 at 7:27 am
(173) Deb says:

I have been 4 days off effexor after taking 150mg daily for the last 3-4 years.
My doctor told me to just cut down to 75mg for one week and then discontinue for one week before commencing on cipromil (not sure if that is the correct spelling)
I have this feeling in my head like my brain is making a chink chink noise, is this what is referred to as brain shivers?
It is so annoying during the day but during the night it is unbearable.
Brett mentioned the sale of effexor has been stopped, is this in all countries? and also how recently has this occured?
What a great website, I am so glad I found it.
Best of luck to all of you

August 3, 2008 at 8:44 pm
(174) Jacki says:

I am so thankful to all the posters. I have been taking 375 mg/day of Effexor XR for almost ten years (yes, 375 not 37.5mg). I suffered from severe panic attacks and I think my doctor prescribed me Effexor when it was a new drug and nothing else was helping me. My doc told me that it would be a long process getting off. After approx. 1 year I am down to 37.5 mg/day. I have been fine up until the past couple of days, I have been experiencing the “brain shivers”. Being freaked out, I turned to the net and found the postings. It really feels like your eyes or head moves faster then your brain. When I was out driving today, I had a hard time sitting at a stop sign looking from left to right for traffic. I really want to stop the medication but dont know how long I will have to deal with this…

August 4, 2008 at 10:49 pm
(175) theresa says:

My PA prescribed effexor because I told her my life was very stressful; I didn’t think I was depressed, just a little anxious about work related stuff usually. I had been on Lexapro and decided I didn’t want to take it anymore due to feeling ‘nothing’ anymore. I quit cold turkey and it was fine, nothing bad happened at all. Well I decided it was time to stop effexor in the same manner, and what a trip! I told my PA that I felt like a drug addict; I was throwing up, pacing, sweating, chills, crying, everything you guys have written about, I had yesterday. The chest pains are strange too, as well as the weight gain. Today is much better, I took half the 75 mg capsule, and will do that for a week, and then hopefully less and stop. I have never experienced this type of body sickness before, and I agree with you all about it being a vicious drug and should be taken off the market. Thank you all for sharing and praying, good luck.

August 5, 2008 at 12:38 pm
(176) Scott DelMar says:

Man, your stories really take me back to a nasty nasty time. I took Lexapro for 4 years and after 40 pounds of weight gain and NO sexual desire I decided to wean off. I cut the 10mg. in half to 5mg and so on. It took 2 months to get off it. The withdrawal symptoms were exactly like all of you are going through. The worst was the tired and achy feeling. Please listen to one thng I say. It DOES go away. The symptoms DO subside and you WILL be normal again. The cloud that you are in WILL lift and go away. I thought I would never be normal again but I made it through and I feel like myself again. Once off don’t EVER go back to the SSRI drugs. NEVER. Try Stablon if you are still depressed. No side effects and if you want to quit there are no withdrawal symptoms. I am soory you are going through SSRI Withdrawal but please listen to me. IT WILL GO AWAY. The symptoms will go away. You will be normal and live again. Don’t do anything stupid to yourself because you are having the symptoms. They will pass and your family will still love you. (Maybe)_

August 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm
(177) Betty says:

Hello everyone – I am so glad to read comments from people who understand. I have been on Paxil for 13 years. I have tried to go off several times, and ended up back on it. The first time, my dr. said to just stop it. I did that and it was AWFUL. She said the depression was still there and I should not only go back on, but increase the dose!

I am sure many of you have experienced that situation.

Now, years later, I am trying again. I took a YEAR to reduce from 25 mg Paxil to 5 mg. I took 4 to 6 weeks between adjustments. I want to succeed at this so much. Each time I reduced, I went through brain zaps and mood swings and teariness, etc., but manageable and I got through it. My family says I would ‘level off’ but not get quite back to normal each time. But I persevered.

A few months ago I got down to 5 mg and then 2.5 mg. I hit a wall – Paxil ‘discontinuation syndrome’ hit full force. I have never experienced anything like it. It has been the worst experience of my life (40 years so far, with plenty of life’s ups and downs). It was physical but even worse was the ‘mental’ aspects of it. I thought I was going to die from the badness of my thoughts and feelings. I felt like I wanted to die – even though somewhere in my mind, I knew it wasn’t logical and not true, nonetheless the insistent feeling of just wanting to die was there. I have never been so scared in my whole life.

So I went back to 20 mg. That was six weeks ago and I still don’t feel right again. I mean, it got better, for sure, but I still don’t feel good. I am also on 2.5 Cipralex now (first week) and the plan is to slowly switch to Cipralex and reduce the paxil to nothing, and then in the future, get off of Cipralex, which is supposedly easier to get off of than Effexor and Paxil.

Has anyone tried this routine?

I wish everyone health and peace and strength!

August 10, 2008 at 11:42 pm
(178) Shannan says:

Well it’s nine days later since my last post and I haven’t given in and went to get another prescription for some kind of antidepressant..I am still up and down but I am no longer really angry, now just crying a lot….the nausea is gone and so are the stomach cramps, sometimes I feel almost happy for a while, usually in the morning and then I seem to crash, but I just keep telling myself it will get better….usually I seesaw between wanting to go back on something, to telling myself to give it the six months I promised myself I would..seems like a long time, it helps to read my post and all of the others to remind me I have seen some changes..unfortunetly I am definetly not the bubbly happy person I am known for..I have been on summer holidays for 6 weeks so I will see what my co workers notice about me when I go back in one week….for the first time I am dreading going back to a job I love…is this worth it, sometimes I wonder why I started this in the first place…..take care all you co-sufferers, I will keep you posted

August 11, 2008 at 7:35 am
(179) Mark Sutherland says:

I am so glad I have read about these brain shivers…I have at times missed my medication and experienced just as described here:
(“You turn your head or your whole body (This happens to me if I whirl around too quickly as I’m taking the stairs. What? Doesn’t everyone whirl on the stairs?), but your brain stays put for a micro second, then tries to catch up but only in a stuttering, stopstart motion, accompanied by a staccato ‘zzt zzt zzt’ with each stop. The ‘zzt’ you can feel in your head, an electric sort of vertigo, etc…”)
I really thought I was going nuts and this is just so hard to describe… I tried to explain to my GP but somehow it never seems adequate to describe and convey… I know that it’s tormenting to go through this…the only fix for me has been to get some medication back into the system quick! I do feel quite trapped by this and wonder if I will ever be able to come off Effexor – anyone who can help me to understand this better – please explain…I mean how do you function trying to wean yourself off a drug like this. Brain Shivers (call them what you like)…can be terrifying in my experience of them, enough to never want to have to face again.

August 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm
(180) Irene says:

Several years ago, I decided to go off of Zoloft due to side effects. I started going off of it in October of 2004 and finally stopped taking it in February of 2005. The zaps, the dizziness, the feeling of motion sickness, accompanied by vomiting were just some of the withdrawal symptoms that I suffered through. I was prescribed Effexor for PMS and migraine control. I was told that the withdrawals were not as severe. I dont think sooooo. I would rather have migraines and PMS. Effexor initially made me feel better…no headaches….good mood. Then I realzied I felt numb. My lack of emotion sometimes are sometimes scary. And then the side effects….what joy. Night sweats….sexual side effects…etc. I have been taking 75 mg and had my doctor give me the non time released (pill not capsule)in 25 mg doses so that i could whean myself slowly. I have been taking 50 mgs for 3 days and feel really crappy. I am not looking forward to this. From what I have read, the withdrawals seem far worse than from Zoloft. I am almost tempted to go cold turkey, and suffer through than deal with 4 to 5 months of coming off of it.

August 16, 2008 at 2:23 am
(181) Barbara says:

I was never depressed, rather anxious, but was put on SSRI’s about five years ago. My shrink, Dr. Pill, put be on effexor. I lost the ability to write clearly, and most certainly to put on eye liner! I shook all the time, even gave up coffee! I very carefully weaned myself off it, over a long period of time. It was the worst. Sweats, dry heaves, anorexia, Total misery. But then it ended and I hadn’t felt better in years. I am sorry to say that four months later the symptoms have returned. Still miserable, but at least I know what they are this time. All I can say, is hang in there, please. Drink tons of water and ask your doctor for atavan for the worst moments.

August 19, 2008 at 11:31 am
(182) Cindy says:

It feels for me like my soul is being ripped out through my eyes, I just can’t explain it any other way. I feel like I have a “Vegas” hangover with dimensia. God help me.

August 19, 2008 at 10:53 pm
(183) mis, Rochester MN says:

I was in a car accident that left me with back and neck pain. This led to fibromyalgia and depression.

About 13 years ago, when I was put on Effexor XR, it was new, and they thought it was not addictive, with little side effects AFTER THE RIGHT DOSE WAS ACHIEVED. I take 150 mg every 12 hours. I do this because I was getting such bad nightmares, among the other withdrawl symptoms, if I accidently missed ONE day.

So, I had Mayo Clinic give me a blood test that measures how well one’s body processes the drug, along with what type of drugs are compatible to your body chemistry. At the 24 hour mark, it read much lower, and it appears that is why I was fluctuating up and down so greatly. Instead of taking it all at once, I take half the dose every 12 hours.

It took awhile to get it to the right dose, but after being on this same dose for the past 9 years, things are good. I wanted to try life without it (my husband frowns on my “weakness” at giving in to any drug, including caffine) but my doctor said I may want to wait since I just started menopause, and Effexor XR is sometimes used to curb hot flashes…which seem tolerable so far.

I can’t wait until they decode the brain and how it works, so that someday people like me won’t have to do these trial and error experiments on oursevlves, just to obtain a half way decent lifestyle.

August 24, 2008 at 11:49 pm
(184) janet says:

Hi, first post didn’t process properly so here it goes again…I’m glad I found this site. I’ve been considering getting off effexor for the past year. I’ve been on it 10 years. I’ve tried to reduce my dosage before and experienced the same types of side effects most of you have. I had a RIDICULOUS psychiatrist prescribe me 6 x 75 mg a day for a couple of years. I was so doped up I could not function and was off work. I was also on trazadone and ativan as well. The last few years I’ve managed to get down to 75 mg but the brain zaps, nightmares, night sweats, etc came back so I upped it again to 150 mg daily. My biggest concern is what some of you have mentioned…that effexor has made some PERMANENT changes to my brain and that some of these “side-effects” may be permanent as well. Frightening. For those of you who have successfully weaned off, did the side-effects go away completely or are you still living with them?

August 25, 2008 at 9:13 am
(185) CJ says:

Ran out of my Effexor two weeks ago. Disliked the lethargy I think this drug produced. I had gained 30 pounds in months but didn’t know why. I did get real relief from anxiety with this drug. Anyway, decided not to renew the Rx.

Next thing I know I’m having some kind of epilectic siezures – brain “zaps” (mine are like quick discharges of static electricity in my brain). I thought – f&^%! epilepsy now on top of everything else! Then decided to research to see if the weight gain could have be related to effexor. Learned from you all that ALL symptoms I have now, sweats, nausea, zaps, extreme lethargy, etc. are most likely related to withdrawal from Effexor – at least its not epilepsy (if it is – I would look to this drug first as cause). Have taken Prozac, Wellbutrin with only minor problems when discontinued.

Seeing my psych this afternoon. I expect her to say you can’t trust what you read on the internet. WRONG! I’m a lawyer – trained to think objectively and choose my sources carefully. I trust my own judgment here – my brain is still working just fine – despite the zaps. I’ve heard enough here and on many other sites to convince me. I hope she will do much more research before prescribing this drug to anyone else. Paying my final bill to her and looking for a doc who stays informed – not only through literature from the drug companies – but through reports that come first hand from people like everyone here who experience problems, report them and talk about them with other people. There are way too many of us reporting the same unusual symptoms to ignore it. Thanks everyone. What helps me through this is confidence that I will recover. Been through worse…rode it out…moved on…this too will pass.

August 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm
(186) Scott says:

My doctor put me on effexor after losing my father in 1996, and I wasn’t coping well. We tried 75 mg. to “take the edge off”. Later, I told him I didn’t like the idea of being on long term, and I wanted to get off of it. He told me this was “a bad idea”. Later, when I told him I still didn’t feel that great, he convinced me to up the dose to 112.5. “Folks react differently”, he said, and I “may need a higher dose than the next guy to get the same effect, due to body chemistry”. So, up, up, it went and I am, nearly 13 years later, at 225 mg dosage. Due to a foul up on a mail order pharmacutical site, I haven’t had a dose for 2 days. This after taking my meds at 36 hour intervals instead of 24 for several days to try to make them last till the prescriptions arrived.

Right now, I feel like my head’s about to bust. My heart’s racing, I feel itchy all over, ringing ears, sensation like I’m shaking, but I’m not, my eyes & lips are twitching, my arms and legs feel like lead. Got the “zzt zzt” deal too- that’s horrid. I feel like my head ratchets around at times. And a symptom- ?? I don’t recall ever having before- cramping- it’s difficult to type because my hands are cramping up, and my feet as well if I don’t keep weight on them. My doctor also said that I have restless leg syndrome- today’s the first that my arms feel like that as well. Like I must move them or I’ll go batty. He wanted to put me on another med for the RLS, but I refused. I’ll soon be a walking Walgreen’s. Although, with the potion I take each day, I can’t be sure all these symptoms are from the effexor.

This isn’t the first I’ve looked at a website for effexor symtoms. But seeing some of the comments that have been posted about how some of you feel- lethargy, disinterest, etc- this describes what I’ve become. A “zombie state” is how I’d describe it for me. Yes, I was “down” before, but now I feel emotionless at times- just don’t care about anything. I have not cried since the loss of my mother in 1999- never seems that I’m able to do so, though times I wish I could as a “release”.

The one emotion that rings true, though, is feeling like doctors and the drug companies really don’t care. Had my doctor ever explained to me what may happen, I never would have considered taking effexor for a second. I believe as a previous post states that many drugs are marketed prematurely, and can’t help but assume it’s the money that makes that happen.

I wonder how this has affected me for the long term. I sincerely hope there are no long term effects, but some posts are discouraging reading on that topic. I’ve learned a lesson from this prescription foul-up, that being I need to get away from this stuff once and for all.

Thank you to all who have posted your experiences. May you all find healing. And, for anyone who’s reading this and you are contemplating going on effexor, I’d say run out of the doctor’s office as fast as you can and find a better doctor!

August 28, 2008 at 9:14 pm
(187) Liz says:

I am so relieved to find out so many people are having the same problems I am having! I just discovered the term “brain shivers” tonight and it perfectly describes the types of symptoms I have had while on Effexor (225 mg/day) for the past three years. I had brain shivers while I was taking my doses correctly. They would happen at any time of the day. My psycharist could not explain why. If I missed a dose – Wow! Migraines plus brain shivers. I finally told my doctor I could not stand the effect of the Effexor and wanted off. I am also taking Welbutrin (300 mg) because I have been drug resistant with my depression and nothing else was working. I am now experiencing my 4th day off all meds and the brain shivers are even more horrible. I also have flu-like symptoms that are almost debilating. I spoke with my pharmacist today about the withdrawal and she told me I was probably half way through the symptoms. So another week of physically miserable instead of just mentally miserable! I agree with the rest of you who wrote why didn’t our doctors tell us about all of the problems with these drugs before prescribing them. I am hoping my pharmacist is right and I have only another week of “the flu” to go through. But from reading the rest of the posted comments I am mentally preparing myself for a much longer withdrawal period. Reading these comments will give me the motivation I need to continue on my quest to be “med free.” Good luck to the rest of you. And yes, brain shivers suck!

August 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm
(188) Lisa Marie says:

I want to thank you all for telling your stories. I am just another one of “you” trying to cope. I just wanted to leave one message for the future commenters- if we could write something a little more positive now.
I am now starting to wean myself off Effexor because I am fed up with the two Drs that I have been speaking to. They never give you a sense of hope- they just want the money.
I am down to 37.5mg once a day. I am starting to get nausea and the dizziness. I am reading what you all wrote and am freaked out about what I am going to be dealing with the next few weeks. I was hoping this was going to be a few day event- a week at most.
For the people who want to respond- please give me some hope and write something positive. Tell me how I can get through this the easiest way possible. Tell me how I can deal with getting on the subway in the morning with my nausea and dizziness. I am really nervous about going through this myself.
I am not looking for sympathy- just like you, I just want to get through this and get off these pills forever!

August 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm
(189) Elaine says:

I have been on 150mg of Effexor XR for 9 yrs. I am 59 yrs of age. How do I know if my hot flashes, no sexual desire, severe insomnia are due to postmenopausal reasons or side effects of the effexor? I do believe I am still depressed and very anxious. I take ambien 10mg which doesnt help much. If I do go off the effexor successfully, then what would I take instead for the depression/anxiety? Has the effexor been taken off market in another country?

August 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm
(190) Elaine says:

I have been on 150mg of Effexor XR for 9 yrs. I am 59 yrs of age. How do I know if my hot flashes, no sexual desire, severe insomnia are due to postmenopausal reasons or side effects of the effexor? I do believe I am still depressed and very anxious. I take ambien 10mg which doesnt help much. If I do go off the effexor successfully, then what would I take instead for the depression/anxiety? Has the effexor been taken off market in another country?

August 31, 2008 at 6:24 pm
(191) Maureen says:

Wow! Whether good or bad stories, I am so thankful to all of you for sharing your stories. It really supports my husbandsí theory that I am not ment to be like this off of the effexor. This is just a horrible withdrawal that will pass in time. Thank you G-d

I went on meds in 2001 after 20 some years of anxiety. I was repeatedly raped for about 2 years during my childhood. To coupe with this I had kept it all to myself which in turn caused some serious mental problems.
I started with Celexa to help with my anxiety. After about 3 years I experienced the most horrible panic attack that left me lying in the snow in my back yard for about an hour then locked in my bedroom for about a week. After that very scary episode my dr prescribed Effexor. Like many of you I was never told any of the side effects. But to tell you the truthÖ the state I was in I don’t think I would have cared what coming off it was going to do to me I was so scared I wasnít going to make it through the next day.
I always assumed since I had such a scary time in my childhood I was destined to be on meds for the rest of my life. And as long as I was numb that was fine with me. I started at 150mg of effexor then about a year later after another panic and depression episode my dose was raised to 300mg per day. This is the highest I have seen. I havenít seen anyone mention being on that much. :(

The next year should have been the most horrible yet. My father went into a coma and almost perished after an elective heart surgery, but did survive after he suffered having both of his feet amputated. But I jugged on practically living in his hospital room for a good 8 months. With no big bouts of depression which was a G-d sent.

Then after about 3 year of marital problems, (that of course I was ambivalent to because I was so drugged up and numb I barely batted an eye). I just knew the connection wasnít there and so I went else where to find it. WTF! That is NOT me! My husband and I have been together since we were both 16 so eleven years now. He is my soul mate and my angel and I very strongly believe I would have never committed this crime if I hadnít been so over medicated or understood the side effects. I know there is no excuse for my action, there are always consequences but I feel as if Effexor has turned me in to a totally different person.
As angels do, my husband vowed t stay and fight for our life together. He has been at the forefront of me getting help. Both to deal with my childhood and understand why I react the way I do to normal everyday life stresses. He has also brought to my attention the devastating reality of effexor. He has done a ton of research and as horrible as I knew this would be I vowed to get off this horrible drug once and for all.
I tapered from 300mg to 0 in about 2 months cutting back 37.5 mg every week. And wow that even still was way to fast. I am 4 days no effexor and I thought I was going to die. My family went into high alert and has been taking care of me (since my hubby was working out f town) but I must say as tiny as it seems I am a bit better each day. I am praying I can be one of the few that will find relief in 10-14 days. The brain zaps are horrible. I am constantly nauseated, diarrhea and dizzy. I feel hungry but then the thought of eating just sends me running for the bathroom.
I swear I am not going to give up. I am going to solder through these with drawls and not go back on this death sentence of a drug. I also promise I will come back to this board and let anybody else going through this know how long it took and how I felt. Because knowing you are not alone helps you fight the battle.

September 4, 2008 at 10:05 pm
(192) saje says:

took effexor xr for about 5 years been off for about 3 months- i still have the withdrawal symptoms

September 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm
(193) Terry says:

Yes there are withdrawal symptoms you should expect (your body is going thru a major change when you stop taking almost all anti-depression medication) I went off paxil a few years ago, cold turkey after 5 years of use, obliviously I didn’t feel good for about 2 weeks, I went on effexor last year after a major life crisis and again when I felt the medication was not working for me ( I was on 150 mg, daily) I went cold turkey off. Again I was feeling terrible for a few weeks but now, 2 months later I feel back to my old self again. Maybe going cold turkey is not the best, but after reading comments like these I would much rather get it over with than drag it out and feel terrible for weeks/months. I feel you all complain and bitch too much, if you’re that miserable stay on your meds!!!!!!!!!

September 6, 2008 at 11:07 pm
(194) Wendy says:

OMG!!! I’m thankful, scared, relieved, and mostly PISSED OFF… thankful I’m not really a freak or crazy … scared the withdraw will never end … relieved that I’m not the only one and PISSED OFF effxor is on the market and doctors are still giving to people.
My story is different yet the same as the rest of you.
I suffered from chronic edometriosis that was painful and controlling my life it starting at an early age 17 by 22 I was hardly able to function … my adhensions and infertility were killing me … at 32 I had a complete pelvic hystorectomy … I was not able to take hormone thearpy since endometrosis thrives on the hormone and breast cancer runs in my family … I was told by my dr. no worries there is this great drug effxor (no caps on purpose)that will releave any menopausal systoms you have so 6 yrs ago I started effxor 75mg now at 225mg a day … funny how life works … recently had to relocated to another state due to family issues and have had financial hardship so due to the cost of effxor had to miss several doses…HELLO I thought I was depressed until I found this site … my god I’ve been going through horrible withdrawal each time I’ve had to wait a few days to pick up a prescription because I didn’t have the money … I thought was going crazy heck my boyfriend was starting to think I was crazy.
OMG I have to get this poison out of me.
I literally think I’m in shock – I’ve had all these syptoms even had my boyfriend read them and he got tears in his eyes and said this is you completely you!!!

September 8, 2008 at 1:43 am
(195) Simon says:

I have come to believe that effexor and the other ssris are some of the most addictive medicines around. I was put on them (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor) when I was 13 and have been struggling to get off ever since. My experience has been that the medicines seem to lose their efficacy and higher doses or a switch to another ssri are needed. It seems none of the doctors recognize that withdrawal from ssris exist; the 5 or 6 doctors I’ve talked to dismiss it as insignificant and short-term. I’m not sure if it’s because I was put on them at adult doses as a pre-pubescent teen or what, but for me the withdrawal experience has been neither short nor insignificant; during high school I tried three times to get off of Zoloft and could not take the withdrawal (each time I had to restart the medicine after several days due to extreme anxiety/panic and akathisia). Then I missed the last half of my senior high school year as a result of trying to get off of Zoloft. I was determined to get through the withdrawal but the effects kept getting worse and worse, and new symptoms would appear. I eventually ended up on 120 mg Celexa and was doing ok after about a year. Then, my doctor had me on Effexor and Celexa at the same time, as the Celexa “pooped out”. I ended up tapering all the medicines again over the course of a year. At first I had a strange giddyness that felt really bad, like I was going to laugh or cry at the same time. Then I felt like I had the flu really bad; body aches, lethargy, upset stomach, feeling “off,” etc. Then came the dizzyness/vertigo and sky-high anxiety like I’ve never before experienced. The “unconventional” dizzyness and vertigo (It feels like rushing and rising sensations in my head, sort of like I’m in an elevator and the floor drops suddenly or like I’m constantly falling) never really went away, and then new symptoms developed; the most intense nighmares I’ve ever had (these have gone away thank GOD) SEVERE agitation and restlessness, akathisia, derealization, depersonalization, clumsiness in my hands, a disconnected feeling (like I can’t get “with it”) slow thinking, confusion, disorientation, hot flashes (I’m male), itchy breast tissue and breast changes(the ssri’s have all given me gynecomastia to a certain degree), testicular pain (this has gone away), a distended feeling in my stomach, indigestion, strange eye problems (I can’t keep my eyes focused on an object; my whole field of vision will jerk away suddenly then come back; also objects are blurry and lights have a “fuzz” or halo around them; my vision is “slow,” like my brain doesn’t comprehend what it sees until after a second or so), horrible concentration problems (I will try to read but nothing gets into my head; my parents will talk to me and I won’t understand what they say, etc.), SCARY outburst of blind rage/terror at little things (never been a part of my personality; we now have holes in our walls, broken furniture, etc.), super intense crying spells for no reason, super-sensitivity to sounds that causes an uncomfortable and disorienting “shock” or startle to go through my body and head when I hear an unexpected sound, sensitivity to light, a throbbing feeling in my head and eyes that sometimes seems to correspond to my heartbeat, throbbing in my hands, a “clogged” feeling in my head around my sinuses and eyes, popping ears and changes in sinus pressure, a hypoxic feeling like I’m only half conscious (used to happen only when I stood up, like orthostatic hypotension but now it’s pretty much all the time but just gets worse when I stand up). I used to be physically active with running and biking and working out, but I haven’t been able to push myself, it’s like the GO button is gone or the umph is missing. Sometimes it feels like my soul has been literally sucked out and been replaced by a terrible angst/anxiety. There are also many other more complex symptoms that I can’t even describe, but it’s like my internal system of prioritization and organization and reward/anticipation and goal attainment are all mixed up; I’ll think I’ll want to do something then when I go to do it I want to be doing something else (and half the time I won’t remember what it was that I was going to do anyway; both scenarios send me into either tears or anger or both). Then, if I do decide to the task, it takes monumental effort to follow through to complete it; half the time it’s too difficult, the other half my brain just says screw-it. Focus and memory is nearly non-existant; it’s taken me over two and a half hours to write this out and there are soo many symptoms and details that I haven’t been able to recall even though they have pretty much taken over my life(can’t watch TV as it goes to fast and can’t remember or keep track of the characters or plot). Also my appetite has changed dramatically; I seem to have developed some kind of eating disorder as I’ll compulsively/uncontrollably eat and I never really feel full or hungry. It’s honestly like my whole entire nervous system has gone haywire. Needless to say I haven’t been able to have a job, drive, or function normally for a long time (I spent most of the past year in our basement in the fetal position). Thinking on my feet doesn’t really happen; I haven’t been able to interact with anyone, I’m just not functioning at that level yet. At one year out I am still struggling. HOWEVER; in general some things have gotten better or at least more tolerable over the past year. I know that this message is not all that inspiring; BUT some of my symptoms have gotten better and I don’t believe that most people will experience withdrawal sensations this long or intense (again, I think maybe because I was put on ssris at a young age and at very high doses). I am curious as to how the other people posting are doing now and wish more would give follow-up posts; have you gone back on the medicine? Are you doing better? I thought I’d give my experience to those looking for answers or comfort knowing that others have experienced these symptoms. As for now I am trying to function as best as possible without any drugs as I have a great family to support me. I’ll try to remember to give updates every few months or so. Simon

September 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(196) Ben says:

Ok, why isn’t anyone talking about the “long-term” effects of these drugs? Is there anyone out there like me who has been drug free from these antidepressants for six months or longer who still has some withdrawl effects from time to time? I went through everything you all described when coming off the meds but I still have some problems every once in a while that is similar to the withrawl effects.
My Doc always says the same thing…you need to go back on the pills! I wish he would take what he prescribed for me for about a year and then talk to me about it! He acts like these pills are sugar pills…and denies any side effects, withrawl effects or long term effects after coming off of them.

Does anyone have any Gastrointestinal problems associated with coming off the meds? I have had burning in my stomach and abdomen and diarrea from time to time (still after 6 months being drug free) and have had every test that a GI doc can run, only to find nothing wrong. My Doc tells me to just go back on the pills.
Please reply….anyone!! Thanks

May 30, 2011 at 2:29 pm
(197) rhoda says:

your post 2008 – it’s now 2011. I have been off about 3 months completely and feel terrible. Am wondering if you stayed off effexor and what happened with your symptoms?

September 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm
(198) Hannah says:

YAY!!!Hi people. I quit, and after 2.5 months, I finally feel like myself again. I have been able to drive long drives again, I am not crying and yelling at my poor longsuffering family, I am much more “even”. I know you guys know what I mean by even. Thanks Richard, for the encouragement. I felt like the snail Col. Kurtz talks about in Apocalypse Now. Well, I dont have any zaps. None! No nausea, no weird mood swings from out of the blue, shakes, its all gone. Stick with it my friends, I know I was on a lower dose than most, 150 mg., but you can do it! Please seek the counsel of a naturopath when you do it. I hope to God Effexor didn’t affect my baby. Time will tell I guess. I feel like I stared down death or something. I guess when something makes you feel that bad, and you can get away from it, it must feel like when youve had a near death experience. Anyways, best of luck people. Thanks Richard and everyone who encouraged me. Yay! Kiss my A$$ effexor!

September 11, 2008 at 9:32 pm
(199) Hannah says:

Try this website people:
http://www.theroadback.org/index.htm

It is a step by step guide on how to get off most psychiatric drugs.
H

September 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm
(200) Tom Marcus says:

Forget the SSRI’s. I didn’t like any of them. Try the older depressions meds. I have been on Pamelor for over a year and feel great on it. It helped my IBS and aches, pains and depression. I never want to go off it. When I try,I become suicidal.

September 18, 2008 at 12:10 am
(201) Jill says:

i’ve been on several different antidepressants and mood stabilizers over the past several years and LOVE effexor…no side effects while taking it regularly. though recently had issues w/ insurance and am currantly experiencing some withdrawl!!! Mine starts at base of skull and then my brain hurts…nausea and irratability but I will be right back on it asap!! hope u all find some peace

September 24, 2008 at 7:52 am
(202) Becky says:

Ben,
About the long term effects: I was on meds for 13 years. By 2/08 I was prescribed 4 different kinds (for mild depression diagnosed in 95). I started weaning off in 3/08. I have 12.5mg Lamictal from 200mg to go. I feel like Iím waking up and Iím realizing the damage that has been done (extreme memory loss and cognitive problems). Right now I canít tell what withdrawal is causing and what long term use has caused. Either way, anyone who hasnít been through this says, ďJust get back on the pillsĒ. If the docs would actually read the information they receive from the manufacturer or better yet, LISTEN to their patients, they would see the epidemic right in front of them. I havenít had stomach problems but itís totally believable to me that the drugs or withdrawal are the cause, even 6 months later. We were poisoned!

September 24, 2008 at 8:28 am
(203) Becky says:

Simon, Thank you so much for writing all that. I have MANY of the symptoms you described and I would have NEVER been able to put them into words like you did. (Iíll be quoting you later when I try to explain to mom why I lost my job). Iím amazed (and very happy for you) that you and your family recognized the symptoms as drug and withdrawal induced and you didnít end up on a cocktail of meds. I cried thinking about the time youíve lost. I have an 18 year old son that I put on meds (regrettably). Thankfully, he took himself off with little ill effects. Your story IS inspiring to me. Iíll be checking for updates. Wish you the best!!
P.S. It took my about 30 minutes to write that!

September 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(204) Ben says:

Becky,

Thanks for the comment.

I am learning more and more about the importance of Omega 3 that can be found in fish oil as a suppliment. More studies are concluding that Omega 3 treats depression 50% better than any SSRI or other antidepressant with faster results and no side effects. Please look up info on the net about Omega 3.

God bless

September 24, 2008 at 9:34 pm
(205) Becky says:

Simon, I must apologize. I reread your post and saw that you WERE also on several meds. It’s those pesky cognitive problems. I’m sure you understand.
Ben, Thanks. I actually just got a supply of Omega3. When I first started tapering off meds, I got help and supplements from theroadback.com I was amazed that they actually stopped the weird dizziness and nausea, and quickly. Then I got Omega3 which DID help the depression and brain functioning. Unfortunetly, when I ran out, I forgot all about it! Until last week. I better not let my supply run out again. :-)

September 26, 2008 at 7:23 pm
(206) G says:

I’ve been tapering off of Effexor for the last two months, and am getting brain zaps, headaches, occasional nausea and lots of insomnia. It sounds awful, but its really not that bad and its improving all the time, thank goodness. I’m currently down to 1/2 of a 37.5 a day (I cut the pills in half). I’ve started taking the natural supplement 5-HTP and so far so good — I definitely think its going to help me get all the way off. You can read about it at http://www.swedish.org/110780.cfm.

September 27, 2008 at 12:44 am
(207) Scott says:

In reply to Ben, I have the gastro problems now as well. Maybe I should spare you the details, but 5-6 trips to the bathroom a day versus once a day or every other day when on effexor is what I’m experiencing now. Had the opposite problem when on effexor, to the point of needing hemmorhoid surgery.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wound up going off effexor cold-turkey due to an on-line pharmacy mix-up. Determined to remain “clean”, I discarded $240.00 worth of the drug when it finally arrived 5 days late. I have since found a fabulous new doctor who has taken me off of 3 additional medications that I was taking to counteract side effects of the effexor, namely high blood pressure, fast heart rate, fouled-up tri-glyceride levels. Don’t know if it’s the reason, or if this new doctor’s just “not a good ol’ boy” pill dude, but he’s a DO (osteopath) and seems more concerned with helping me make good health choices rather than putting me on a pill to “fix” things. He’s not fast to prescribe meds and I am greatly appreciating his more holistic approach to my health.

As far as being off the drug, I am still dealing with withdrawal symptoms, but otherwise can truly say I have not felt this good in ten years. Emotionally, anyway. I feel like I have my personality back- coworkers are commenting that I seem much more “with it” & am not the same as I was back then- mainly on auto-pilot. It’s wonderful to be able to feel some emotions again- I can cry now over sad stories I hear, actually find myself laughing out loud while reading the “comics”, things I had not done for years. I went from being a couldn’t care less person who had no desire to do much of anything and one who allowed others to take advantage of me, to one who now wants to experience life to the fullest. I’m taking up piano after twenty years of thinking about it. Biking with my kids. Baked cookies with my 12 year old son tonight. I’m sitting here nearly crying, though- my saddest thoughts are- what have I been robbed of? And what have I robbed my family of for years? Effexor seemed to ease the depression by voiding all my emotions.

Fortunately for me, the brain zits are lessening greatly at this point. I now however have ringing in my ears and an occassional bout of what I can best describe as a sensation of pressure in my head, like holding one’s breath or having sinus problems. Headaches are frequent, nearly every day, but tolerable with an ibuprofen tablet. Acetaminophen or aspirin does nothing to relieve the headaches.

It may sound sappy, but I wish I could reach out and touch each of you in some way that woud ease your difficulties with this drug and any other life circumstances each of you face. Bless you all for sharing, and for those who are apprehensive to post a comment, please go ahead and post. I never thought I’d ever post on a site like this, but it has been theraputic for me to do so myself, and I hope sharing my experience may encourage others.

September 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm
(208) Jman says:

Hi All: Long story made short. Have been on antidepressants for about 9 years; SSRIs. Now on Effexor XR 75mg/day, and Wellbutrin 150mg/day. I’ve been pushing my psychiatrist to get me off the drugs because I really don’t need them. Feeling great and I’ve no libido! It’s affecting my overall relationship with my beloved wife. We are now physically estranged – and for no good reason. Doctor wants me to wait until next year; early spring because the days are getting shorter and there is less light. Forget it! I’m now on my 3rd day on 37.5mg/day of Effexor down from 75mg/day. Doing well; slight headache but that’s about it. I will be sharing the experience with you as I progress. God bless you.

Has anyone tried the Label Me Sane, or The Road Back nutritional programs????

Jman

September 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm
(209) Jman says:

Good day to all. Just checking in. It’s been 5 days since I’ve decreased my intake of Effexor XR from 75mg/day to 37.5mg/day. Taking a lot of fish oil tablets and vitamin B complex; getting outside for sunlight and exercise. Feeling ok but irritable and minor headache. Sleep is poor. Determined to get off this crap and will let nothing get in my way – especially myself. God bless and good luck.
J

September 30, 2008 at 3:46 am
(210) Simon says:

Hello again from Simon,

Becky: Thanks for the comments. I hope you are feeling better with the fish oil (I am also taking fish oil), and glad to hear that your son is alright after meds.

Scott: Glad to hear that all is well. Your story is inspiring (and none of it sappy)!!

Jman: I just read your post and hope you’re feeling ok. Be sure to give yourself some time to normalize at your lowered dose – some other websites/blogs dedicated to withdrawal recommend dropping by no more than 10 percent of your current dose every 4-5 weeks or so (check out http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/ it was created for Paxil withdrawal but deals with all ssris/snris). It can take quite a while for some of the changes to become apparent (months), as you probably already know. Keep us posted with how you’re doing!!

As for me: I posted about a month ago on Sept. 8. I still feel like I’m in a fog and am still struggling with the same symptoms, but I feel like the dizziness might be incrementally better. Some of the confusion might be better too, but it’s hard to tell and I still FEEL confused. I know this doesn’t help much but thought I’d write anyway. Will try to write again in a month or so to keep things current. Simon

September 30, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(211) Jmnan says:

Good day to all and thanks Simon. There are a lot of people that have participated in this forum that are really suffering. We can all empathized with each other. But a thought here and maybe some optimism: The most difficult times in my life (54 years) has provided me the opportunity for deep spiritual growth (probably because I’m praying so hard to get out of the difficult situation). Just a thought. God bless and good luck.
Jman

October 1, 2008 at 10:43 am
(212) Jib says:

Wow, I can relate to a lot of you! I started taking 75mg of Effexor XR last year for Fibromyalgia and stress from my job! Um I would rather deal with the pain of Fibro and fight the urge to strangle my co-worker versus what I am going through now. I have been at work for 2 1/2hrs now,haven’t accomplished a thing, I feel like I am not in my body, my hands, arms, head & lips are tingly (like they are asleep), my sight feels fuzzy, I want to just cry, I have been B*itchy with my innocent little 5 yr old girl & husband, short tempered with co-workers. I warned both of my bosses the potential side effects both have been understanding, as well as my new co-worker, my husband just doesn’t get it, my daughter bless her heart when I go on a rant she puts her little hand on my arm & says “Take a deep breath and calm down it will be ok”. Just typing this now makes me cry because I feel like such a BAD parent!! She doesn’t deserve this!! I can’t imagine why any Dr. would prescribe such a terrible drug!!! I have a good Dr mind you I just think none of them are aware of these severe side effects once you start coming off of it. I had to start weaning off it it due to the high blood pressure it was giving me. I went by the schedule I was given, cutting back to 37.5 milligrams every other day for 2 weeks and then 37.5 mg every Monday and Thursday until it was all gone which would be 10/16/08. Well I didn’t notice any side effects on taking the 37.5 every day, but when I started taking it every Monday & Thursday that is when it hit, well I said to heck with that if I am going to have these side effects I might as well stop it altogether & just “deal with it”. So I haven’t taken another tablet since last Thursday 9/25/08. What a ride it has been! The dizziness, tingly feelings, upset stomach, stomach cramps, leg cramps at night, waking up not being able to breathe, jumping down everyone’s throat & just not being able to concentrate on anything! I haven’t went to either of my bosses & told them the side effects I am experiencing because I don’t want to be sent home, my family & I can’t afford for me not to get paid, my husband is already workign 1 full-time job & 2 part-time jobs thanks to this wonderful economy we are in! I am going to tough it out, I will get some of the vitamins & things that were recommended in the earlier posts. I REFUSE to give in & take another pill, obivously this drug should be removed. I admit it did help me with my Fibro & ADD but it isn’t worth the H*ll I am going through now & with all of these side effects we are having it tells me this is a very harmful drug to our bodies. So I will keep you all posted on my progress, probably weekly. Hugs to you all & best of luck!

October 1, 2008 at 10:45 am
(213) Jib says:

Btw, I forgot to tell you all, I do suffer as well from migraines & muscle soreness more than I did before I took the drug, so I am assuming these too are withdrawals.

October 2, 2008 at 9:32 am
(214) Rachel says:

Some people have mentioned having long-term effects from Effexor, not just after tapering off but periodically afterwards. I have noticed that I will get bursts of the drug releasing into my system even now (7 years after discontinuing this drug). The triggers are: improved nutrition, exercise, weight loss, stress, and sickness. It really stinks to be living like this but it has gotten better over time, with the symptoms less severe. I know it has to be Effexor because it is the same every time, and I can predict when it will occur based on, say, when I exercise. It is always the same: feeling like super woman although I am tense and can’t sleep, then crashing down and having muscle pains and mental confusion and so on.

I have found that when I am getting energetic-but-tense (on the upswing) I can get relief from ingesting protein (whey protein like weight lifters take) every 90 minutes or so. It really helps and makes the muscle pains and confusion (the downswing) less intense because some of the drugs washed out of my system without having affected me in the first place.

I have never found anything that helps with the downswing, so these comments are only useful to those of you who are experiencing sporadic problems months and years after the drug.

October 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm
(215) james says:

I have stopped taking cymbalta completely. My psychiatrist decreased my meds over two months. Mind you I have been on every type of antidepressent since 9-11. My brain feels like it is being simultaneously electrified. If I move to fast my eyes hurt and I get vertigo. Does anyone know how long this will last?

October 3, 2008 at 7:29 am
(216) MDogy says:

I never got past 75 mgs. of effexor and after several months I’d had enough. The depression was gone, but in its place were constant sweating, high anxiety and a sense that I’d lost my intelligence. I couldn’t remember things, had trouble making sense of things and thinking logically. I was blaming stressful life circumstances, but I’ve had stress before. I tapered back to 37.5 mgs. with my doctor’s help, and have been off the stuff entirely for 2 days. Now I’m ridiculously hyper, ravenously hungry, and emotionally volatile. I feel like crying over literally nothing, and I’m writing this at 7:13 a.m., after having slept NOT AT ALL. Yes, I’ve been awake the entire night, after a full day of work and other chores and activities. After reading all your comments, I’m more certain than ever that I did the right thing getting off this poisonous substance that should be illegal. Now I’m starting to feel the sore throat thing coming on, the “flu-like symptoms” they talk about. I’ll deal with my life-long depression some other way. I already took Wellbutrin, which gave me heart arrhythmias; Lexapro (not a bad choice, but it sent my libido packing and stopped working after about 4 years), and I’ll never touch Paxil. I also won’t be a guinea pig for the newer drugs the pharmaceutical industry throws at us without knowing what damage they’ll cause down the line. I think the drug companies take advantage of depressed people who are desperate and will try anything to feel better. More profits for them! Way to go Greed! I’m starting to get it: anti-depressants aren’t the answer, they’re just like putting a bandaid on a broken arm. Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences. I intend to weather the next few weeks or months or whatever it is, focus on exercising, cutting out the sugar, and getting back to a meditation practice that worked wonders in my younger days. Good luck to all of us.

October 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm
(217) Nelson says:

I am so grateful for this thread. I was actually surfing for information about the maximum load for Effexor as I’m experiencing depressive symptoms again and have severe memory recall issues.

Turns out I’m on the maximum dosage, so I’m going to taper off, take the Omega 3 as suggested above, and consult with a naprapath.

In the interim, to avoid all the horrific side effects I’m reading about, has anyone been prescribed something as a short-term solution to addressing the withdrawal?

Thanks – Nelson

October 4, 2008 at 9:17 am
(218) jo says:

I have been on Effexor for several years. Since I have chronic depression, nothing works for any length of time. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, in which I swing way down. My psychiatrist knows about the withdrawl symptoms but wanted me to come off of Effexor slowly. I have gone from 300mg to 75mg in 7weeks. I did not experience these horrendous symptoms until after a week of 75mg. I have a few days left of the 75′s before I go to 37.5mg for a couple of weeks. He has me Lamictal and Wellbutrin. I will tolerate this hell until the end. I will never put that drug back in my body. I have only experienced these symptoms once before in my life, and that was coming off narcotics, which I abused for a lot of years.
I have hope and determination. If I can overcome drug abuse, I surely can overcome this.

October 4, 2008 at 7:45 pm
(219) Donna says:

I had terrible withdrawal from Paxil a few years ago and was dreading the same with Effexor… so I had been hearing about this Sam-E crap and decided to get some to see if it would help me while I quit taking Effexor. I started taking it the day I took my last pill (four days ago) and while I HAVE had the luxury of sleeping a lot over these four days and have had a lot of interesting dreams, the withdrawal symptoms haven’t been nearly as devestating. Why not try it? I have really begun to suspect that antidepressants are more about what it does for the pharmacuetical (sp) company that what it does about us. I HATE THEM!!!

October 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm
(220) Donna says:

It’s me again… I forgot to say — I didn’t taper off Effexor or Paxil. Just cold-turkeyed both. I sometimes think the tapering down just causes the withdrawal symptoms to go on longer. I think cold-turkey is probably more severe and certainly not advisable, but at least it’s over with quicker. I agree with the guy above… it must be like coming off narcotics. It’s really embarrassing to have to live like this.

October 7, 2008 at 5:36 pm
(221) saje says:

like simon i too have the “clogged” feeling in my head. drove up to the mountain with my family the other day and the sinus pressure was the worst felt like my head was being squished. vertigo is present too. i have the rushing & rising sensation in my head, it happens out of the blue. it has been almost 5 months. i think i’m having anxiety because of the scary head symptoms. i won’t go back on effexor-

October 10, 2008 at 9:14 pm
(222) Hannah says:

Hi again. I hope everyone is doing ok. I wanted to reiterate how I got off effexor,and let you all know I am doing ok.
1. Get a Naturopath if you can afford it.
2. Read all of Richards posts.
3. Do Omega 3-6-9 oil, I use Nutrasea, its a lemon flavored liquid, not too bad.
4. I use Sisu brand B complex, with Rhodiola herb, it increases your brain speed, with clinical research to back that claim.
5. Take a glass of water with lemon juice in it first thing in the morning, it causes your gall bladder to “squirt”, thereby excreting a bit more toxins than usual.
6. Take off some time from work if you can, to get off the effexor.
I think it took me like 24 days before I felt the balance tip in favor of less than half the day experiencing a withdrawal symptom.
I agree with the previous poster, it really is as hard as kicking Narcotics.
H

October 11, 2008 at 11:44 pm
(223) Laurie says:

I am feeling for every one of you who have had to go through these terrible withdrawals. I’ve experienced every withdrawal symptom imaginable. I wiened myself off for 4 weeks; and now I’m 16 days without a pill! I’m still feeling crappy; head zaps are better, but I have terrible nausea, cannot get to the gym, irritable with my kids & husband and boss and coworkers, stomach ache and pains, etc…. I hope everyone sticks with getting off this terrible drug. You can do it ….. just take one day at a time! God Bless…

October 12, 2008 at 5:09 pm
(224) John says:

Thanks to Lisann for making me aware of the FDA’s Medwatch program. I plan on filling out this form to document my awful withdrawal from Cymbalta. It looks like you can mail this in anonymously, which I plan to do. Please, please send this in if you’ve experienced negative withdrawal symptoms. We need to go after these quacks and suits that got us addicted! Do this for all your brothers and sisters suffering out there!

FILL OUT THE FORM HERE:
http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/getforms.htm

Good luck to all,
John

P.S.: If you’re thinking about discontinuing your psych meds, do so CAREFULLY. Not everyone is ready to go off their meds. And, if you’re not ready, you’re in for quite a ride. It took me a couple of years to get off these meds. But, I tell you…these drugs will mess you up when you’re coming off. As for myself, I got more depressed, had “brain shocks,” and lost quite a few things, including many friends because I became such a jerk. I now realize that I really was a “junkie” getting off his stuff, albeit a much more positive experience than someone getting off a hard drug.

If you’re going to get off these drugs, do it slowly, safely, with the guidance of a sympathetic doctor and therapist.

Trust me.

I’m an EMT and I’ve seen people on and off their meds. The ones who are off their meds when they shouldn’t be are a mess. You may very well be, too, if you’re not prepared and absolutely, completely, TOTALLY ready to stop. That’s my warning. That’s how strong the absence of these drugs are, especially if you’re still depressed. DON’T BE STUPID. BE SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm
(225) Rebecca says:

Has anyone been on effexor for 2 months then tried to get off? What are withdrawal symptoms in that case? As intense as someone on it for longer? I take 75 mg every other day in an attempt to wean off…interestingly my insurance won’t cover it. By the second day I am experiencing dizziness. I also have a sore tongue, not so much swollen, as sore and annoying. Anyone having a sore tongue? Do you recommend continued weaning or stopping cold turkey. I have a family and full-time job – would I be able to function even at a low level if I stopped cold turkey?

October 15, 2008 at 9:34 pm
(226) Becky says:

Simon, Glad to see you’re doing okay.

I wanted to make a suggestion (for anyone suffering withdrawal). Get blood work done if you can. I think years of these drugs wreak havoc on our systems. I had my thyroid checked in Sept. and it was off the chart Hypothyroid (which causes memory and concentration problems & tingling and numbness in my hands and forearms).

Someone asked about the Road Back program; I took the Body Calm/Body Calm Supreme and protein powder when I was throwing up and dizzy with flu-like symptoms from Cymbalta and Lamictal withdrawal. It helped tremendously.

Jib, Hang in there. ITíS NOT YOUR FAULT! Itís Wyeth Pharmaceuticalís fault!
Feeling like a bad parent is the worst feeling in the world, I know. Getting off these drugs now will be better in the long run. I went through years of apathy on SSRI’s and severe memory loss. I hardly remember raising my kids (they’re 16 & 18). But I do know I wasnít the fun and loving parent I wanted to be.
Then I had a manic reaction to Cymbalta last year. My oldest moved out “because I was too mean”. Iím almost thankful I can’t remember much. It’s too painful.
Get support from wherever you can. I almost hate saying that because I know for some (as in my case) itís not possible. Iím hoping for you and others, you have more resources. If your husband doesnít understand, just make sure you do little things to get what you need. For example: Donít beat yourself up for lying on the couch on a Saturday instead of going to the park or ordering pizza instead of cooking.
And remind yourself that your body and mind are going through turmoil from the poison you were fooled into thinking was safe.

Rebecca, from what Iíve read, weaning off meds by taking them every other day is a bad idea until you get to the smallest dose possible.

October 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm
(227) Schatzi says:

I read many of your comments, and can sympathize with the problems with antidepressants you have taken, especially with the evil effexor. I have been on and off antidepressants for 15 years (depression, anxiety, panic attacks), and am currently cutting down on effexor mainly due to sexual side effects (no desire) and inability to gain weight (i am underweight and instead of eating when depressed i don’t want any food- same while on effexor). I also have vivid dreams and night sweats. I’m glad i found this site- this explains the dizziness problems i have been experiencing the past few months (been on effexor since Feb 08). I thought i was just clumsy or really high or something.

Luckily for me, I decided to cut back while I was on percocet for a surgery, so i think that helped a lot. I went from 225mg to 150mg seven days ago. I have had really bad nightmares and headaches, but seem to have avoided the other problems everyone else has been talking about. But, I am still in the first stage of cutting back, so there is still time for that to happen.

I have been on the following at one time or another: prozac, wellbutrin, zoloft, celexa, lexapro, paxil and now effexor. In my experience, effexor has definitely the worst side effects and the worst withdrawal- worse than paxil even in my opinion. I couldn’t even take prozac- i had flu symptoms w high fever during the first week, which i think now was really serotonin poisoning. They tried it two times on me w the same result. Lucky me!

Anyway, if anyone wants to talk about any of those drugs and my experience with them or about depression and/or anxiety/panic attacks, email me at schatzicat19@yahoo.com.

Hope you are all feeling better soon, and hopefully none of these side effects are permanent. Scary!!!

October 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm
(228) Elizabeth says:

I am on day four of no effexor and thank God I found this site! My friends and family don’t understand what I’m going through at all. I went from 150 to 75 to 37.5 mg in one month. I never expected this!! WHAT have I poisoned myself with for the last 4-5 years???? The brain zaps and the dizziness are unbearable, not to mention the weepiness. I actually cried when Sarah Palin appeared on SNL last night and I’m not even a fan of hers!

Has anyone thought of alerting the mainstream media (NY Times, Oprah, 20/20, Good morning America, etc.)about this problem? We need to WARN people to stay away from this POISON! I am shocked that I let myself take this drug in the first place. What was I thinking?

May God help all of us.

October 20, 2008 at 6:32 am
(229) Jade says:

Thank you all for blogging about your experiences, now’s my turn to share mine…
…I have recently been taken off my 225mg/day dose of Venlaxifine(Effexor),switched to 20mg/day Paxil for a month, now specialist has placed me on 30mg/day of Remerone (Miltiazaprine). Can I just say….YIKES!!!!!! I feel like I am going crazy, literally nuts. I knew about brain shivers before as I would often get them if I missed a dose of Effexor, and now, I have been of off the stuff for a while now and my symptoms of withdrawal are worsening and worsening….as a matter of fact I am feeling like a junkie and going to the hospital just to see if I can get a couple of pills to get me through the week until I see my specialist again. I sound like an addict, don’t I? Well I sure feel like one right now. Every time I get a “shiver”, it makes me cry. My vertigo, coordination and focus are pure mush. I feel retarded to say the least. I think Effexor should be banned!!! It’s dangerously addicting, but you only find that out when you have to stop taking it…FDA needs to do something FAST!!!! Look at all these blogs!!!!

October 20, 2008 at 8:36 am
(230) Sandra says:

Taking effexor about 5 years now and suffered most of the symtoms above when trying to cut down. Doc also says dose is too low take more!
High blood pressure, water retention and flushing not only on the face but feet and legs have become covered with spider veins and get worse on higher doses.
Will also be going the natural route.

October 20, 2008 at 7:50 pm
(231) Angie says:

I was on effexor for about 8 months in 1994 for post-partum depression. I never knew so many had this problem! I did finally manage to come off it with minimal discomfort. I cut back my dosage in miniscule amounts until I was down to taking, literally, a crumb of effexor every 3 days. I was only on 37.5 mg!
The post-partum depression turned into full blown depression. My experience- zoloft works best for me. When I asked for an increase from 50 to 100 mg, she put me on lexapro. Did absolutely nothing for me except made me flat- with everything. I just didn’t care. Went off those and had another depressive episode and she put me on Wellbutrin. Poison! I was up for 3 days, paranoid, pacing and crying hysterically. She lowered my dose and told me to stay on it. I took it for a few more days and weaned off it. I switched doctors and am back on zoloft.

October 22, 2008 at 9:15 am
(232) Stacey says:

I have had all the same symptoms of coming off venlafaxine for post partum depression and I can say doctors have no idea of these side affects. Has anyone stopped having a period because of this? Mine has been gone for 3 1/2 months and I was completely regular before. I have only been on the drug since May (5-6 months) and now I have just stopped having a period. I have been weaning myslef off for 1 1/2 months now and I can go 2-3 days without a pill but then my head gets the spins and I walk one step and it sends shocks through my feet, up my legs and even into my lips.. So I guess I just have to bear it and not take any any more until those shocks go away?

October 22, 2008 at 9:15 am
(233) Stacey says:

I have had all the same symptoms of coming off venlafaxine for post partum depression and I can say doctors have no idea of these side affects. Has anyone stopped having a period because of this? Mine has been gone for 3 1/2 months and I was completely regular before. I have only been on the drug since May (5-6 months) and now I have just stopped having a period. I have been weaning myslef off for 1 1/2 months now and I can go 2-3 days without a pill but then my head gets the spins and I walk one step and it sends shocks through my feet, up my legs and even into my lips.. So I guess I just have to bear it and not take any any more until those shocks go away?

October 22, 2008 at 10:16 am
(234) Schatzi says:

Hey everyone,

Try Dramamine!

I am in my second week of cutting back and quitting effexor. This is the worst drug ever- you quit because of the side effects, but you can’t get off it because of the side effects of quitting! Disgusting that this crap is given out like candy.

I started experiencing a lot of dizzyness and nausea on Monday, like my eyes and head were moving faster than my brain. I see that a lot of you are feeling similarly. I even threw up @ work yesterday (Tues) it was so bad. It occurred to me that it felt a lot like seasickness, so I tried a Dramamine when I got home yesterday. About an hour later, I felt so much better. No more dizzyness or nausea at all! It was awesome.

I am still crying and feeling super-angry and irritable, but at least I’m not feeling so physically sick.

October 23, 2008 at 12:18 pm
(235) Rebecca says:

I think I have found a way to get off Effexor with minimal withdrawal effects. I was taking 75 mg everyday. To get off I was told to take 75 mg every other day for 2 weeks and then every 3rd day. I could not see this working. So, I am following this plan:

Day 1 at breakfast 75 mg
Day 3 at lunch 70 mg
Day 5 at dinner 60 mg
Day 7 b4 bed 50 mg
Day 10 at breakfast 40 mg

and I aim to continue until I am down to nothing. I have noticed a small amount of improvement (reduction in amount of dizziness and sore tongue is much better!) and I feel like my body is relying on it less and less.

You could alter this according to your current dosage and how you start to feel after 24-48 hours.

Let me know if this works for anyone else!

October 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm
(236) liz says:

I am so glad I found this site. A friend told me about it and I felt so much better when I read that all of the symptoms I had been experiencing when I forgot to take or ran out of my Effexor were the same as others are experiencing. I decided I had to get off of the Effexor (with my MD’s blessing), but the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal were way too much for me to handle. (By the way, “only” 37.5 mg of Effexor is NOT a “crumb”. It is very potent and can and does affect us significantly.)

Then I remembered… over 10 years ago we had needed to wean our young son from pain meds after a bone marrow transplant, and when we followed the dosage reduction schedule the doctor gave us my little guy did okay for a couple of days but quickly went into withdrawal, complete with excruciating pain, etc. The doctors then hadn’t known how to reduce/remove the drug without withdrawal problems. With the doctor’s permission and approval I worked out a very specific schedule of dosage reduction and eventually removal (he was home by this time but still needed many drugs). To do this I divided the tablets into quarters and sometimes even eighths if I had to and gave small dosage changes every other day. There were times that we needed to interrupt the schedule and “rest” a little longer at a dosage, just to let his body adjust to the new amount and redefine the baseline amount that his body was used to. Long story short, there was a lot more to removing the drug and his body’s dependence on it than our doctors had realized. And the symptoms/problems involved were very, very real if the weaning was not done properly.

So to tie this in with me and my Effexor dependence, I chose a schedule for myself to reduce my dosage. I have been taking 150mg Effexor XR (capsule) for years. Since I want to reduce the dosage the doctor gave me the 75mg capsules so I now take two Effexor 75mgXR. The capsules obviously can’t be broken, but I can carefully remove the top of the capsule and remove a small amount of the drug inside it, then replace the top and proceed as normal. I can be precise because I count the little “balls” or pieces that I remove, and I have made a schedule that tells me how many balls to remove for each day’s dosage. **I do not remove any med from a capsule until I am about to take it. I don’t want to mix myself up and take the wrong thing! This has been working very well so far.

The schedule I have chosen is as follows… Week #1 – remove 25 of the tiny med balls from only one (!!!!) of the capsules, leaving the second capsule fully intact, on day 1 and maintain this dosage for the whole week Week #2 – remove 50 from one capsule, maintain this dosage for the whole week Week #3 – remove 75 Week #4 I tried to remove another 25 but on day 3 of this week I started having withdrawal symptoms (dizziness, headache, you know the list) so I backed up to what I had done the week before which was removing only 75 and kept this up for the rest of week 4. Week #5 – I decided to slow down a little and removed 15 additional balls for a total of 90 Week #6 – removed 105 Week #7 – removed 120 Week #8 – removed 135 Week #9 – this is tonight, and I will remove 150 for this week. I intend to continue with this schedule, probably taking a “rest” after I have removed the entire first capsule and only need to take the second.

I am still on the first capsule because these little balls inside the capsules are so small, but in a few weeks I’ll probably be done with the entire first capsule. This pace does not bother me at all, although some might consider this to be too slow. For me though, I am thrilled when I have successfully reduced to a smaller amount of drug with no withdrawal symptoms/side effects. I only need to look back at the other comments posted here to be reminded how bad it could be, and I don’t want that! I have only had to “rest” at a dosage once, and that was week #4. This tells me I am doing something right!

I will keep you updated on my progress, probably in a few weeks unless something changes. Hopefully this will help someone successfully reduce/remove the drug from their system.

January 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm
(237) Barbara says:

Liz, thank you so much for your dosage suggestions. Like you, I also was on effexor for a number of years & when I asked to be weaned off, the doctor dropped me from 150 mg to 75…great, except that my body is having a really hard time with this. And, in case any of you are wondering physically why??? I had my serotonin levels checked…normally your body’s serotonin level, I believe is somewhere between 380-420…mine, after all the years of being on effexor, was 8…yep, 8.

The drug companies have marketed this as a serotonin uptake enabler, but what these drugs actually do is tell yoru body that it has enough serotonin, so it quits manufacturing the serotonin…so that’s why we’re all having such a HARD time coming off of it. Our bodies are struggling to make enough serotonin for our brains to even function, much less thrive. But the dosage idea helps greatly, so thanks.

November 3, 2008 at 7:00 am
(238) drew says:

Just checking to see if comments are being posted to the web page…

November 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm
(239) Kevin says:

I have been on Effexor 225 mg for several years. 2 months ago my doctor switched me to Wythe’s replacement for Effexor called Pristiq. What a disaster. It was like going cold turkey. I switched back and am now back on 225 mg of Effexor. The good news is that Wythe’s patent on Effexor expires in 2010. The generic drugs will be cheaper and hopefully someone with a brain will devise a series of generic Effexor pills to ween people like me off this crappy drug. ATTENTION DRUG MAKERS!!! Please devise a game plan and pills to help poeple decrease slowly their use of Effexor. Decrease the amount by say 5% each month. You will need a pill to match each dosage. I will be first person to sign up.

November 3, 2008 at 11:00 pm
(240) Missy says:

Before I totally commited to taking Effexor, prescribed for General Anxiety Disorder, I read about the horrible effects at time of withdrawl. I decided to go forward and take the drug because I truly needed to get a hold of my anxiety. After a year of taking Effexor 75 mg a day, my doctor and I decided I was ready to wean off. I must say that this drug truly helped me and gave me quality of life back and some of the best dreams I ever had.
I followed the instructions of weaning off over a month’s time and experienced the worst muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea etc. (no brain zaps, thank the Lord.) I have continued my normal day to day activities. I will get through this and I don’t plan to ever take Effexor again but I don’t regret my decision to take it. My advise is, keep plenty of Advil and sudafed on hand, take mega amounts of fish oil, drink lots of water, force yourself to stretch and exercise even if it is just a little. Every day you will feel a little bit better both metally and physically. If you don’t want to deal with unpleasant side effects, DO NOT TAKE THE DRUG IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

November 5, 2008 at 10:33 am
(241) mark says:

Very scary site. I was on Effexor for 3 years and it made me feel good having experienced other anti-depressants. Took 225mg per day ,no problem. Then I had a stroke and a heart attack aged 46. Nobody will admit that the drug was a cause. I was a fit healthy man and my heart consultant said that my heart was in pristine condition!!. Apart from the fact of course that it does not work properly and I take 13 tablets a day. I was taken off the tablet the day of my heart attack 18 weeks ago. Doctor wont let me take anything.
I can relate to all of the withdrawal symptons each and one of you experiences.

I feel like my life has been destroyed here.I suffer very badly with the withdrawals. It is a dangerous drug for some people and please take care with it.

Still in the fight however and wont let it or any other drug beat me.

November 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(242) Rebecca says:

To get off of Effexor see the suggestions from comments 210 and 211. A 75 mg pill contains about 200 little granules. 5 mg is about 13-14 granules. Develop a schedule for yourself by which you reduce the granules each day or every two days. You can get off of this drug with minimal withdrawal symptoms! I’d be happy to help you with a plan if you like. Let me know!

November 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm
(243) Py says:

Came across this site by accident, and it brought back some horrible feelings! I got off ďthe junkĒ (Effexor) several years ago, and I will never forget that experience. I didn’t do my research before weaning myself off, so I thought I was dying. It put a lot of lbs on me over the couple of years I was on it. Something my Dr. never pointed out was being caused by Effexor even when I complained about my weight. Good news is that 6 months after quitting, the pounds just fell off on their own!

November 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm
(244) Africa says:

I’m also very grateful for finding this info. I also thought I was crazy. I first started effexor in the late 90′s for depression, was successfully weened off after about a year. I started experiencing these side effects then, but didn’t know what they really were at the time. I was talked into being put back on it by my doc after I moved to Africa around 2002. Weened off again because of the expense and because after months of convincing, my doc finally agreed that they no longer were doing their job! Moved back to US in early 2007 and put back on it again by my US doc because “it worked once before”! She actually prescribed Cymbalta because it was cheaper. By that time I had had enough experience being weened off this drug, so I did it myself because I felt no doc would listen to how horrible this drug really is. Trust me, it was murder all three times! For me AND my family. I’ve known for some time that the brain ‘zaps’ were a side effect from the drug because I’ve heard others say the same thing over the years. So, it’s been over a year and a half and I still experience these ‘left overs’; the eternal headache, nightmares and waking-dreams, severe mood swings, insomnia, over sleeping, etc… However, I also still have the “unreal” feeling every now and then, my vision gets darker or brighter or my hearing gets a little sharper, and it still scares me. Something I would like to ask you guys. I also experience some disorientation when I lay down to sleep. My head sometimes feels like it’s filling with helium and getting bigger and bigger. I’ve read that this is sometimes called alice in wonderland syndrome. Sometimes my hands and feet will feel way too big for my body, but mostly just my head. Anyone else??? After 1 1/2, I don’t experience these things as much, but when under any kind of stress, I notice they start to reappear. Recently, I started to experience some type of black-out. I thought I was falling asleep with my eyes open, but that’s not exactly it either. This is VERY scary and I’ve been nervous to drive since. Has anyone ever passed out or experienced anyting like this? The second time I was coming off effexor, I passed out at the bank!That was sweet! Just wondered if it was related. I was also diagnosed with low blood sugar during this time.
STACEY #207, about 3 years ago I stopped having my period. I didn’t have one for about 9 mos (I know, I know) before I saw my gyne. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (premature menopause). I was prescribed a course of birth control with an extra boost of estrogen and I haven’t missed a period since. However, my chances of ever conceiving again are much slimmer, if even possible at all. GO GET CHECKED!!!!

November 13, 2008 at 1:20 pm
(245) Africa says:

Sorry, forgot to ask. Has anyone else experienced problems with their period? If this is related, I’m about to be really mad!

November 14, 2008 at 11:32 am
(246) Deb Baxley says:

I am hoping my story will some of the people reading this website. I was on 100 mg Zoloft for over ten years. I decided that I wanted to be off this medicine (at a better place in my life now) and was taken down slowly…first month 75 mg, then 50, then 25. After the 25, I was off completely. It has been almost two weeks since my last dose. I noticed withdrawal symptoms when I began the 50 mg doses. Mostly it was fatigue and some emotional instability. Once I started the 25 mg doses, the symptoms intensified.

Jello brain, emotional swings (ranging from anger to sadness), fatigue and headaches. The good news is every day I seem to feel a little better. I make a point of getting a good night’s sleep and that helps alot. I have noticed that the symptoms get worse throughout the day especially the brain zaps….especially if I move around alot. Bending down makes it worse. So I move slowly as the day goes on.

It has been 10 days now that I have been completely off the Zoloft. I sometimes worry that because I was on this medicine for so long, I will never feel normal again and have been tempted to go back and get a new prescription but having suffered through this now I don’t ever want to be on a drug like that again.

I do believe my symptoms are getting better and am going to try some of the things recommended here. I will post my progress later and it is my sincere belief that I will be able to tell everyone to hang in there that it does get better and will be worth all the suffering once you are whole again!

One last thought…this drug did help me during a tough time in my life. However, had I known the horrible side effects to get off of it, I would have NEVER started using it. The sad times, hard times in life don’t last forever. You can live through those times without becoming addicted to a pill that Doctor’s know NOTHING about.

November 17, 2008 at 1:58 pm
(247) Schatzi says:

I also found out from my regular Dr that I had hypothyroid trouble while I was on effexor. Now that I am finally completely off, they did another blood test, and guess what- no more thyroid trouble! That could have messed me up bad.

November 18, 2008 at 3:37 am
(248) Sophia says:

I am relieved to know that I am not alone in my battle to cleanse my body of these toxic drugs. I have quit “cold turkey” Effexor XR, Buspar, Paxil, Lipozene, and Ambien. I am suffering side effects, but continue to battle them with exercise and healthy eating. The main side effects seem to come from the withdrawals of the Effexor. I feel cold all the time, but turning on the heat in my apartment makes me nauseous. I experience “brain shivers” during the day. I can’t sleep at night. Then I become irritable because of the fatigue. But, I’m not giving up. Despite the withdrawal symptoms, I am experiencing a clarity and peacefulness of mind that I have not experience in 7 years. That is how long I have been on the Effexor. I just want to say to others not to give up. Keep fighting. And I think we should all get together and sue these drug companies. I know that probably won’t happen, but they should be held accountable for doing this to people. Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences on here. It helps to know I’m not alone and not crazy.

November 18, 2008 at 3:47 am
(249) Sophia says:

Oh, I forget to mention in my previous post, that when I do sleep, I have severe anxiety. I keep dreaming someone is trying to break into my house. I get so frightened. I live alone with my 7 year old daughter, so there are no other adults around that can help me with this. My ears have also been hurting a little, almost as if they are infected. But I don’t think they are, I think it’s just a side effect. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I will find out if I really have an ear infection. I’m not sure if I am going to tell her that I stopped all of my medication. Frankly, after what’s been done to me by these medicines, I don’t trust doctors anymore. I think natural therapy and home remedies are going to be the wave of the future after more people become aware of the toxicity of the medications they are taking. If anyone has any suggestions or comments, please post them. It really helps to know I’m not alone and not imagining all of these withdrawal symptoms, especially the fear at nighttime.

November 18, 2008 at 4:00 am
(250) Sophia says:

Ok…I know I’m babbling. It’s almost midnight and I can’t sleep..again! I’m sitting in my livingroom, freezing, but not wanting to turn on the heat because it makes me sick. I know I’m complaining and I don’t like to complain or whine about things. Life is what it is. I know others are dealing with their own issues, and I don’t like to complain. I guess I just have to keep telling myself it’s the withdrawal symptoms, and that someday this will be over and I’ll feel “normal” again. I feel wonderful in the daytime, apart from the occasional “brain shiver” in the daytime, which seems to lessen each day. I don’t think I will ever trust a doctor again after this experience. Anyway, I am going to try to lay down and watch television and hopefully get a couple of hours asleep….with the lights on. The lights seem to help my nighttime fear…a little anyway….

November 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm
(251) saje says:

Yes! period problems. I was bleeding heavy for about 1 1/2 years. periods lasted about 3 weeks at a time, iron was super low. Had 3 d&c’s, 1 cryo ablaision and finally hysterectomy.

November 20, 2008 at 12:34 am
(252) Liz says:

I left comment #211. Here is my update…. I am on week 12/13 of weaning myself off of my Effexor XR 150mg. I have very successfully removed 75 mg (one capsule) from my daily dosage with NO SIDE EFFFECTS. Tomorrow I will remove 15-20 little “balls” of medicine from the remaining capsule to begin weaning myself from that too. I’m hopeful that, based on how well this first one went, I won’t have problems weaning myself from this next one either. I may find I’ll have to “rest” more often as I get closer to the end, but maybe not. Anyway, one down, one to go. I’ll update again later.

Sophia, it sounds so difficult what you’re having to go through. Would it be worth it to try to re-establish an effexor dosage where you’re not having symptoms, then carefully and slowly wean down just a little bit at a time, kind of like what worked for me in #211? I know before when I missed my effexor for 2 days in a row I started feeling very bad, with a lot of the side effects others have mentioned. But the careful weaning has left me with none of these side effects at all so far. I couldn’t stand going through all of the problems you have described. I feel very bad for you.

November 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm
(253) Gťrard says:

I am in my 3rd (an hopefully last) attempt to stop effexor.
I have been taking effexor er(xr) 75mg/day for 4 years with good results (other SSRI medication made me confused and unable to concentrate). However, over time, I began to feel ‘fed-up’ with the emotional anesthesia, sexual desinterest and mental fogginess.
I did try to stop it a first time (cold-turkey) 1 1/2 years ago… I suffered the ‘brain shivers’ for 3 weeks (was tolerable) but my mood start worsening so I started again.
Eight month ago I did try stopping effexor again. This time tapering it off very slowly (gradually removing some content from the capsules every week for over a month). Side effects where not so bad until I stopped completely. It was hell! I immediately felt very depressed and physically hill. I had to start over again within one week.
The widthrawal was definitely worse than during my first attempt. In addition, going back to 75mg/day did’nt help with depression anymore. I was very reluctant to augment the dose to 150mg (as DR. advised) but eventually I had to. At The new dosage, it did kick in again, but I was more and more reluctant to continue on this drug.
After some research I convinced my Dr. to switch me to REBOXETINE (Edronax). This is a NRI type of AD. The reboxetine started acting very fast (2 days) and definitely ‘feels’ much better than effexor (it’s like being fully functional instead of half numb…).
I was supposed to discontinue effexor over a period of 2 weeks (taking the non XR version 37.5mg 2xday). However I felt so good that I tried to stop directly taking effexor. I felt nothing bad for 2 days, then extreme dizziness, shivers and nausea hit me overnight. I took back a 37.5mg pill and the physical effects went off within 1 hour.
The good thing, now, is that I am feeling emotionally well and I am confident that I will be able to kick off ‘sticky’ effexor without relapsing into severe depression before feeling better again.
At least I hope….

November 25, 2008 at 1:30 am
(254) Sophia says:

Well, I am happy to report that I am feeling much better than my previous posts from November 18th. I don’t feel anxious and scared at night anymore, the “brain shivers” have stopped, and my brain is so much more clear and I can experience life to greater extent. All of my senses are more heightened since I’m they are not numbed by anti-depressants and anxiety medicines. I have several remaining side effects, such as I still feel cold a lot, and turning the heater on still makes me a bit nauseous. And my ears are sensitive and sometimes feel as if they are infected. I deal with this by wearing more layers of clothing, staying under a blanket, and making sure my ears are covered when I go outside. I feel like I have made significant progress, although others might disagree. One of the effects I am noticing from being off the medication is that I tend to speak what’s on my mind. I am trying to do it in ways that aren’t offensive….(I don’t swear or use vulgar language). However, I do have radical opinions and ideas that I’m sure many do not understand. Oh well, there is a measure of freedom in expressing what’s inside me. I guess if someone doesn’t like what I have to say, they can choose not to listen. That is fine with me. One last thing I would like to say is that I am not condemning medication altogether. I believe that there are times in our lives when medication is beneficial, even necessary. However, they should not be used a bandaids to cover the real issues affecting our lives. We have to learn to deal with life….the highs and the lows. That is difficult to do while the brain is numbed. But, sometimes there are issues that are just to painful to deal with at a particular moment in time. That is when medication should be used. But only when it is absolutely necessary. Personally, the highs I experience after a brisk walk in nature are much more satisfying than any of the medications I have been on in the past. Eating healty, taking care of my body, and having a spiritual relationship with God have been the best medicine for me. Good luck to all of you out there reading this. I hope my words bring some peace, comfort, and hope to anyone who might be experiencing difficulties. If there is anything I can do, or any advice I can give to anyone, please feel free to ask. This journey has been so enlightening for me. I have learned to enjoy life, music, singing, painting, writing, reading….so many things that I couldn’t do while under the effects of the medication. Good luck to you all and God bless you….

November 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm
(255) Lynne M says:

I am in day four of no effexor after 1 1/2 years of being at 150 mg. This is purehell. Aches, pains, brain zaps, body zaps, pin-pricky feelings under skin when I make any movement, crying jags, bad sleeping problems,
cotton-headed feeling, coordination problem, heaviness. I see doc tomorrow, and am sure she will give me hell for stopping them, but I can’t live as a zombie anymore without ever experiencing any joy at all. I will post again — the brain electrip zaps are the worst, and at times are full-body zaps. Ears ringing, seeing things at periphery of vision that aren’t there.. it’s awful. But you already know that.

I can’t believe this drug was actually approved … the clinical trials must be full of crap.

I pray for all of us. Today is bad .. really bad. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Best wishes to all of you.

November 25, 2008 at 5:03 pm
(256) lynne m says:

I tried posting but it didn’t take.

After having been on a series of antidepressants over the last 20 years, and after one year on 150 mg effexor xr, I am trying to get my soul back.

Am now in day 4 of no effexor, and feel awful. Brain zaps, full-body zaps, weakness and aches in body, stuffy head and nose, cotton head feeling, pin pricking feelings all over under skin, inability to sleep, bad dreams when I do, chronic fatigue, anxiety, seeing things in periphery of vision that aren’t there, and others described above. I can only hope they lessen with time.

I WILL NOT go back on this drug no matter what. My doctor will be angry that I have gone off these meds, but I can’t stand being a zombie and feeling no joy whatsoever in life. No passion, no motivation, just plodding through with no feelings at all.

I am taking vitamins, benadryl, omega 3-6-9 to try to help with it. I will try some of the other things above.

I hope you all get through this, and hope that I come through this alright.

God help us all.

November 28, 2008 at 4:13 pm
(257) Phil says:

I’ve been off of Zoloft for the past week, and the brain shakes have put my life on hold. I can’t drive to work and I constantly fall over from terrible stability issues. I couldn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving with my folks – all I could do was just lay on a couch and nibble on stuff.

I had tapered down from 200mg a day, lowering down 25mg per week. The first few days of being totally off Zoloft were terrible. Migraines, tremors, insomnia.. it’s still here, plaguing me. Zoloft didn’t even help with my depression, it made it worse in fact.

Now my doctor wants to prescribe 150mg of Effexor per day and I hear the withdrawal effects are worse than Zoloft. Who knew that you can feel depression even before taking your medication? What can I possibly do if I lose my job over miserable withdrawal effects?

November 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm
(258) Lynne m says:

YES, IT GETS BETTER! Am now in day 8 of withdrawal from 150 mgs of effexor xr, and the symptoms are almost completely gone. I’m beginning to feel so much lighter and almost like my old self. My soul is returning after years of being covered up.

It’s not hard to get up in the morning anymore. There are situations in my life that I have to deal with, and I will, but I won’t have to be a zombie anymore. I can take a long drive in the country by myself and actually enjoy it — not feeling like I’m dull and dead.

Granted this is just my own experience, but YOU CAN GET YOURSELF BACK. I’m enjoying music again, really feeling it, and find myself singing all the time. Wow.

Hang in there folks. Grit your teeth and push through. Once this poison is out of your system, you will get your own “being” back.

Good luck everyone. And God bless.

November 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(259) Karen says:

I have been on Effexsor XR, 75mg per day, for almost two years. I have had a 20lbs. weight gain while on it. I was switched from Celexa to Effexsor XR due to elevated liver enzymes. Docs not sure if it was primary cause or if it along with Tylenol caused the elevated liver enzymes. Two weeks ago my doc switched me to Wellbutrin, again because of elevated liver enzymes. May also be contributed to Ultram for pain. So no longer taking Effexsor or Ultram. Doc reduced Effexsor XR to the 37.5mg for two weeks to help with withdrawal. Took the Wellbutrin along with it. Finished the Effexsor XR last Wednesday and now only on Wellbutrin. I noticed things were a bit “off” for me, but never attributed it to the lower dose of Effexsor. I understand now. By Friday afternoon, I have had all the symptoms noted by previous posters, and now realize that my feeling of being a bit “off” was the calm before the storm. The dizziness, nausea, weird flushing feeling starting at my shoulders and then working its way to the top of my head along with extreme feeling of overheating then to cold have just about worn me out. I hate the buzzing white noise in my ears and the inability to focus. I have had to take out my contacts because I could not stand them in my eyes…the dryness and itching were extreme. I have been on Paxil and Celexa, and the withdrawals were next to nothing. I hope Wellbutrin in the same as they were! As a licensed counselor, I can tell clients from personal experience the horrible effects of Effexsor XR. Although it may be different for them, I will encourage them to ask docs to try other methods, including therapy sessions, before ever taking Effexsor. Reason for me being on these drugs? Extreme pain from osteoarthritis in my spine. Had relief from that pain for two and a half months after having steroid injections into cervical area of spine, but did not last. OT and PT were murder. Now on to a neurosurgeon. Been down that road before for lumbar area…two surgeries and excellent results. Hoping for the same with cervical area…and perhaps I can get off of all these pharmaceuticals!
My prayers are with all who have left comments and to those yet to leave a post. This is the only site that gave me clear cut description of what I was experiencing…and made me know that I am not CRAZY! Peace!

December 1, 2008 at 1:22 am
(260) Lisa says:

After almost 4 years, I am finally getting off this stuff! Scrw the doc, everytime I said I wanted to quit he said no. The brain zaps, finger/hand tingling ( he had me take an EKG), he had no clue what was going on! I’m so relived to find this site. I’ve weened myself off down to 1/6 of a 75mg tablet, the last “crumb” was 9 days ago and I’ve bee throwing up daily, I’ve had the ear infection pain, and the brain zaps and vertigo are REALLY getting old — BUT I’m not crazy! I’ve got thru making thanksgiving dinner, 5am Black Friday shopping, and my moms birthday dinner. I am going to do this!! I’m going to stock up on ibuprofen, benadryl, and Omega 3 and L’ve got this site. Bring on the bro-in-law and family at Christmas. Wish me luck!

December 1, 2008 at 1:31 am
(261) sudie says:

Began antidepressants 11 years ago after my doc could not find what ailed me, after having been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, mono, fibromyalgia, etc, he said I was just depressed and put me on prozac, and I have graduated up to effexor XR and now want my life back. I was eventually found to have a bone marrow disorder to where I had over a million platelets *normal is 150 to 450000, and it had completely quit producing any iron. But by that time, I was addicted to these d****d pills and now I want my life back. Several times have tried to quit, and always failed when the crying began. Doc says that’s not withdrawal, that’s how I’ll be for the rest of my life if I get off these pills, but I say he’s wrong. I have lost interest in almost everything in my life I ever enjoyed, and have this along with having quit smoking, have gained 40 pounds since I began them……….
Weaned myself quickly, over about a 2 -3 week period, first only taking a pill every other day, then poured half the contents out and finally quit about a week ago, and as others say, it is hell but I refuse to go back. I pray it will be better soon. Yes, I cry over sad things, but I have always been envious that my husband cried over sad things, I was more like a zombie, yeah, I felt a little sad, but didn’t cry. Now I boo-hoo a little to easily, but it is nice to be able to cry. Of course the brain shivers are awful, but mostly when I lay down, am using an OTC sleeping pill and will usually lay between 2 and 8 hours with mind that will not shut down, the RLS feelings, and when I do go to sleep, I sleep forever, 10-12 hours and never can find any energy. Medication keeps the bone marrow under control, that is no longer an issue for the time being.
I hate that others are going through these withdrawals, but it is also good to know I am not alone on this. My doc does not support my stopping this medication, and my husband thinks I should listen to the dr. so he is not so supportive. I asked him to just try to bear with me and my crankiness, crying, etc. hopefully it won’t last much longer.

Wish someone would post and let us know when the symptoms are gone, how long it actually took, but I guess once they are over them, or lapsed, they don’t return to this forum….I will try to remember to do that when and if this is over. One way or another, I will not go back on Effexor. I was taking 150 mg….have been up to 300 mg before though..no issues at all in lowering dosage, just the actual quitting.

December 1, 2008 at 11:07 am
(262) Karen says:

I posted yesterday, but thought I would share the following information. Additionally, I wanted to correct that it was not Celexa that I was also on previously, it was Cymbalta.

I just called my doctor’s office. The nurse had told me two weeks ago to be aware of the side effects/withdrawals from effexsor xr. She had them when she went off of it seven months ago. She said that she alternated a 75mg and a 37.5mg for two weeks, then went down to the 37.5mg for about the same period of time. Regardless of her knowledge and her slow weening off of effexsor xr, she too experienced exactly what we all have or are experiencing. The drug rep suggested, get this, that she take one Prozac, which has a half life of 50 years (yes, you read that right!), to lessen the withdrawals from the effexsor xr. So I guess when she is 90, she would then go through the Prozac withdrawals.

I would hesitate to believe this information had it not have come from the nurse at my doctor’s office…and it is now seven months since she started to ween herself off of it.

She too suggested the Omega 3 fish oil three times a day and truly believes it made a difference, if even so slightly. For a large bottle, she said it cost approx. $7.

I am sure that the length of time it takes for it to leave our system depends upon the length of time on it and the dosage taken. For her, it took approximately four days for her to begin to not to feel weepy. And at least a week until she could begin to think straight, not have the fogginess. It took a couple of weeks until the brain zaps, white noise, night sweats, vertigo, etc. began to taper. Seven months have passed, and she continues to take the Omega 3 twice a day.

I hope this helps. If at all possible, fight through the withdrawal and do not go back on effexsor xr. What we are experiencing is not unlike what an addict experiences. And visit this site often to know we are here to help you through this nightmare. Peace.

December 1, 2008 at 11:10 am
(263) Karen says:

P.S. My friend the nurse said that she feels terrific now. Detox was tough, but well worth it!

December 4, 2008 at 11:40 pm
(264) Suzanne says:

I myself am completely floored by all the posts I have found about this drug effexor
( I too have no respect for this drug – nor do I for those Dr.’s who push it). I have been on effexor for 10 months and am trying to come off it due to being on 300mg daily and not quite feeling like ‘normal’. I have weaned off the xr and am introducing Celexa to my poor body and am sitting here, day 3 awaiting the Celexa to kick in and the withdrawal of the xr to go away. I have searched for years for anyone who has experienced these brain zaps (I use the term Brain Jumps) and no one could ever relate…until now. Using the term Brain Zaps opened my eyes to a whole new world I thought never existed. I thought I was all alone with these feelings. I cry for no reason, my brain jumps around, I am missing work, my kids dont understand – Thank God I am NOT alone here (Please people, dont think negative on that comment).
Reading all of your posts have really helped me in a way, I am looking forward to the end of this drug.
Been on antidepressants for 12 years now… – Terrible Terrible things they are ( especially for some people)
Hang in there, keep reading and posting.
Thank you all so much .

(May not have made any sense at all but to me it does. Remember, I am in withdrawal today)..LOL

December 8, 2008 at 11:08 am
(265) Jessica says:

Wow, i thought i was struggling alone with the brain shivers, i’ve referred to them as ‘pulses’ when trying to describe them to others. the rapit “ffft ffffft” experiences are like mini shocks. i’ve been on 150mg of Effexor XR for a long time – it seems to be the only drug (after a long line) that really helped me into remission. however, skipping a dose for even a few hours produces very horrible withdrawals, as we all know.

i was wondering if anyone else has had severe panic attacks, hallucinations and almost ‘psychotic’ episodes when you skip a dose or two. if i skip a dose, the next day i say “screw you” to my meds that then things go seriously downhill – freak outs, paranoia, i can’t keep still, the vertigo is terrible! the pulses happen almost every minute. it really sucks. i cannot function. it’s really difficult because i’m at university and i need to focus, but sometimes (due to a late night, particularly on weekends) i wake up so late and skip a dose and then it’s hell.

i’m so glad i found this site, and i’m relieved to see i’m not the only one struggling with the pulses.

the ‘episodes’ really scare me. does anyone else experience similar things?

thanks, and good luck with the coping!

December 9, 2008 at 11:27 am
(266) Joshua D. says:

Been off effexor for 9 years.Had to draw down over a period of ten weeks from 150 mg. to approx. 2mg. Still had nasty withdrawal.Life and emotion returned albeit slowly over the following six months.Cling to Jesus He WILL bring you through and NEVER let you go!!! Regardless of how bad you feel just hold on to this:Your feelings are neither facts nor reality. There is LIFE after effexor

December 15, 2008 at 10:22 pm
(267) Mary Hart says:

Its been so helpful to read the comments about withdrawal. I was on lexapro for ten months or so to help with quitting smoking. I did quit, which is great, but now that I’m getting off the drug I’m faced with these horrible withdrawal symptoms. My body is really heavy, I can’t move around as well, I am like an emotional drama queen. Everything bothers me – my emotions are so close to the surface that I’m crying at the drop of a hat. I feel like this is never going to pass. I feel like I’m going to be like this forever – enter drama queen.

December 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm
(268) Sudie says:

Well, it has been about 5 weeks now, and the brain shivers finally quit about a week ago. Still having problems with sleeping, but I don’t think it is related to Effexor. Have the crying under control. I tear up, but the outright bawling is gone, so far. My mind is much clearer, and I think I’ll be alright. Told the dr. I’d quit, and not too even mention antidepressant to me ever again. He had no comment, but told me I had lost 2 pints of blood, which scared the daylights out of me, but after researching it, I find that only means I’m anemic, which I’ve been half of my life…Guess the new description gives it a bit more drama.

December 20, 2008 at 9:12 pm
(269) Margaret says:

I have been reading these posts while coming off Effexor XR. After seven years on 150mg. I have been without drug for five weeks. Still feel sick and have gained ten pounds. Also, very forgetful and look terrible. Very bloated. I think I have aged ten years, prevously I looked young for my 62 years. The anger seems to have subsided as of this week, my brain still feels like jelly although the zaps are not as bad. Truthfully I have been thinking about going back on the drug, that is how bad I feel. However, after reading these posts I guess I need to be patient. I live in Chicago and the weather has been terrible even for us, lots of snow and severe cold. Otherwise I would go out and walk, walk, walk. I also have trouble sleeping, the melatonin helps taken with milk. I cannot focus, and as I said, cannot remember anything from one minute to the other. I would think I was heading into some old age dementia had I not read these posts from some much younger people. Thank you all for your help and my prayers are with you.

December 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm
(270) Mer says:

I was on Effexor 75 mg for 10 years; tried to go off it twice in the past and failed due to physical and depression symptoms. This time I planned ahead- as in months ahead. Started seeing a good counselor who recommended a book called Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy; this helped me prepare for possible recurrence of depression symptoms and gave me some tools to use to deal with that. For physical symptoms I started seeing an acupuncturist who had experience helping others go off antidepressants.

I switched to 37.5 mg for 5 days; was then supposed to do 37.5 mg every other day for 10 days but after the first day of physical w/d sx I decided to just try to get it over with. Today is day 3; yesterday was fairly miserable and I’m hoping today is better but so far it’s not off to a good start. Brain zings (even while lying in bed); dizziness, vertigo, nausea. Fortunately we’ve got extreme winter weather where I live so I haven’t had to go in to work; can stay at home and just veg. I agree with others that things like exercise help; I also used a cleanse product called MediClear to try to push any remaining Effexor out of my system faster. Visualization cd’s have been helping too.

Glad to hear that the symptoms eventually cease for most people; will post again with my progress.

December 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm
(271) liz says:

I have been weaning myself off of my Effexor. It has gone extremely well, I feel great with no symptoms or problems at all. I am down from 2 of the 75 mg xr capsules to 1/2 of one capsule. I have removed 20 pieces of the drug from inside of one capsule each day for a week, the next week increase it to 40 pieces each day for a week, then 60 pieces, etc. This is great, and I have felt great the whole time. I figure I’ll be totally off Effexor within two months. And I won’t have spent any time agonizing like some of you have who quit cold turkey or 37.5 mg or more at a time. Why do you do that? I don’t get it. Give your body a chance to adjust!!! It will if you give it time. This drug is very addictive, as we all know!!! Help yourself help yourself!!

December 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm
(272) Sophia says:

Hi. I had posted in the past, sometime in November about stopping Effexor and the other medications I was on. November 18th, looks like was my last post. I just wanted to leave an update, in case anyone was interested. I have succeeded in staying of all of the medication. No more side effects. I am not going to say that everything is perfect. I still get depressed at times, and my patience is short. But I’m trying to find ways to deal with that. I do not regret stopping the meds. I am proud I was able to do it. I have a long way to go to feeling really good and lots of work to do…but at least I’m not numb. Yes, sometimes the emotional pain is difficult to bear, but I get through it and am looking forward to the New Year. I am even going out New Years Eve, something I haven’t done in over 10 years!!! I just want to say to everyone out there to not give up. If you really want to get off of these medications, you can do it and you can get through the withdrawals. You’re not alone. I will try to check back here, and see if anyone has any questions for me, or would just like to talk. Sometimes, when you’re down, it just helps to tell somebody. I have finally made a friend who lives near me who understands. Anyway, good luck to you all. I wish everyone good luck and good will who choose this difficult path of living without meds. It takes courage and strength to do this. I was on meds for 7 years. Just know that you’re not alone.

January 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(273) Suzanne says:

I am going thru effexor withdrawl. I have been experincing brain shivers. Has anyone found any info on how long this lasts?

January 3, 2009 at 12:02 am
(274) Sherrie says:

Holey Moley Bat Man, did I ever get an education here ! I started on effexor 75mg.exactly three weeks ago. I was just to the pain doc and had taken myself off of the time release morphine, I have CRPS in the left foot after many surgeries… and nerve damage..and have been on opiods for a year now. I was getting some anxiety and depression so doc gave me this stuff. NO WAY am I going to stay on it. Anyone here as new as me? Will it be less trouble at this early stage? I didn’t even take what he told me, but one half of a tab. they are NOT the XR as I hear you speak of. I have just been through a lengthy cold turkey withdrawal from the morphine and another one now is about too much to think about..but I have not been real faithful with the effexor and now I KNOW that is what is giving me headache, not feeling well, which I assumed was still the morphine w/d. I am on prob the 37.5mg a day or one half a tab. Any comps here? What a way to spend all the holidays ! My age is probably diff than most here as well. I am 71 and 72 in March. This junk is not making me feel any younger. Food and coffee are ICKY..like some.. smells and anything besides plain bland food is a NO.. so no veggies..do fruit tho..oatmeal, poached eggs..toast and tea. Custard I bake. Toasted cheese san. …boring but can tolerate it.
Man, I hope I do not have in front of me what you guys have been through ! Doc said it would take about 6 weeks for me to get any “help” from it.. I will never KNOW..as I won’t be on it. He is a “PILL MILL” guy. That is ALL they do.
Any input for short termers would be so welcome. Thanks for all your great informative posts.

Sherrie

January 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm
(275) Sabina says:

Due to a serve service connected injury where my C & T Vertebrae were damaged and I have nerve damage, I have been on a cocktail of Effexor XR and Wellbutrin for almost 2 years. I must say this cocktail is much better than the alternitive that I was previously on which was Effexor XR, Wellbutrin, Fentenol Patch, Morphine, Tylenol 3, Lyrica, Tramadol, and Trazadone with Diazepam for sleep.
I take the Effexor XR and a Wellbutrin in the morning and NO PAIN MEDS AT allllll!
Most days it is very hard to maintain a Pain-med free day, but I tell myself that the other is enough, which as mentioned in most cases has been.
I will be disabled for the rest of my life but that does not mean that I have to stop LIVING. I work and raise a 12yo daughter, have a fiance and feel for the most part our family environment is “normal”. I am a productive part of society! I have not let the medication over take me, my body, or my life.
I have had a bout of withdraw when running out of the medication but got thru that also with bedrest and Canella (mexican cinnamon stix) tea (for upset stomache).
I believe that Effexor and Wellbutrin have helped me and am sorry to read that it has had such a negative effect of others.

January 3, 2009 at 11:30 pm
(276) Sara says:

Hello everyone. I also have been going through what everyone here has been talking about (brain zaps, nausea, night sweats, etc.) This is the second time trying to go off of effexor. The first time was when the pulmonologist told me to go off of it so I could get some testing done for a sleep problem I’ve been having (not to do w/ the effexor). He told me to cut my dose in half for 3 days and then just switch to Wellbutrin (if I needed it, hahaha). So I did that and at first thought I was reacting badly to the Wellbutrin and decided to google the symptoms at 2am since I couldn’t sleep. Well I discovered it wasn’t the Wellbutrin but effexor withdrawal (Dr. did NOT tell me that this would happen just that I couldn’t quit cold turkey). So I went back to my GP and she tapered me off of it which worked just fine until I was done with the lowest dose and now the symptoms are all back. I notice that the information Wyeth gives about effexor states that is not addictive. This is laughable (in fact I did laugh when I read it and then started crying). I haven’t been doing any social activities because it’s all I can do to make it through my work week. I have no energy (physical or emotional) for any social stuff. I really hope that this gets better soon. I’ve been off now for a week and a half. I will be praying nightly for relief. Thanks to everyone for their stories as they are encouraging and help to not just say to heck with it and go back on the effexor to get relief.

January 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm
(277) Nic says:

I first went to see a psychiatrist in March 2006 when I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Severe Depression. I took Citalopram Hydrobromide for 6 months, right up on 80mg per day. I was then switched to Fluoxetine and put on 80mg per day. This is the highest possible dose and I tried to commit suicide in CHristmas 2006 due to bizarre hallucinations and a voice in my head telling me to kill myself.

I feel strongly that both SSRIs changed me completely within 2 weeks of commencing them. I lost any ability to feel any emotion, could not concentrate or sleep and had the most horrific nightmares when I would wake up screaming.

I finally got down to 40mg of fluoxetine in mid 2007, and then, 2 suicide attempts later, I was still hearing voices and having panic attacks. A change of psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and prescribed Zyprexa, Sodium Valproate and Effexor.

I began to feel suspicious of my psychiatrist so I gradually stopped taking my meds and haven’t taken a thing since Oct 2008. It hasn’t been easy.. first the terrible brain zaps, sometimes going on for hours (it feels like someone has put their hand inside your skull and is squeezing your brain) and all the other confusion, hallucinations and feelings that your thoughts are being broadcast to others.

Three months off meds, I am doing better, although now suffering from SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Doctors say it goes away after 7 weeks. This is completely untrue. It can last years. My prognosis is that it will last at least another 9 months. My current symptoms, although not hallucinations and psychotic as before, are unpleasant enough: i cannot even think straight, or concentrate and have lost so many things that I used to own or be able to do. SSRI discontinuation syndrome is just another form of post acute withdrawal syndrome (when heroine addicts or alcoholics withdraw) and there is simply not enough research about it, and how SSRI and other psychiatric medication takes a very, very long time to wear off.

There are however alternative remedies, such as taking a cod liver oil rich in EPA (Seven Seas sell one). EPA helps beat depression.

That aside, you need a carefully thought-out support system and a partner who will look after you 24/7.

January 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(278) Vicki says:

Wanting to come off 150mg efexor I tried taking one only ever other day and have been surprised by the array of symptoms I am experiencing. It is only after reading all the above comments that I realise what the problem is. like lots of others, I thought I was going mad! Did anyone have any problems with weight gain and vision problems on efexor?. They are the main reason for me wanting to stop. In 3 months of taking them I have put on nearly 3 stone and can’t see my computer screen anymore such is the detioration in my vision.

January 14, 2009 at 10:22 am
(279) sandy mccaskie says:

It is a terrible thing what these drug companies have done scamming the public doctors and politicians with corrupt science.

January 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm
(280) Katie says:

I have had the “brain shivers” for the past several days, following discontinuation of 150 mg of effexor XR. I was “weaned” off of it at 1/2 dosage for a week prior to total discontinuation. Then, about 4 days later, the shivers and other symptoms hit – HARD! I thought I was loosing my mind! Extreme depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, sleep disruption, strange nightmares, nausea, etc. What can I do? Please, I have to do something!

January 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm
(281) liz says:

Katie, My advice – get back on the effexor for a week. Then start weaning yourself off by emptying a certain (your choice of amount) # of pieces from one of the capsules, take that amount each day for 1 week. The next week remove a certain # of additional pieces from the one capsule, take that for a week. Keep doing this till you have finished one capsule, then start on the next capsule, going till it is finished. I started with two capsules, am almost finished weaning myself off the whole thing. I’ve been working on this slowly for almost 6 months, but will be totally off in 2 weeks. In the meantime I have had NO SIDE EFFECTS and have functioned/am feeling great. When I am done I will be completely done! If you think that this takes too long, I can tell you that I think that any amount of time feeling as horrible and preoccupied as the withdrawal makes you feel would be too long for me! It can be done with no complications. Good luck!

January 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm
(282) paul says:

Like many of you I had no idea what I was in for when I decided I had been on antidepressants long enough. Long enough being about 10 yrs. First zoloft and now effexor for the last 2 yrs. For the the last 8 months I have been weaning off of 225mg of effexor. finally getting down to 37.5 without much incident. After 3-4 weeks at that dose I stopped. I see now that even that smaller dosage needed to be weaned from. At first I noticed the dizzying effects for about 5 days. Then I moved into that hyper emotional state that many of you have refered to(easily crying) Actually I thought that was a good thing because I thought wow I’m starting to have some good feelings about some good things. That was about 3 weeks ago.Little by little the irritability and negative thoughts and anxiety have hit pretty strong. To the point where today after making a difficult decision I had to re introduce that poison into my system again. But thanks to this comment list I read how one or more of you is actually breaking open the capsules to make your own smaller doses. Great idea. I wish the best to all trying to accomplish the same

January 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm
(283) kelly says:

I have suffered depression and anxiety off and on for all of my adult life.I too am withdrawing off of effexor. Reading these comments have really helped. the tears come and go but to be honest its nice to actually FEEL some emotion and be able to cry. To cut a long story short we are all in this situaution because we have imbalances in our bodies. I would urge everyone to consider NEVER taking pharmaceutical AD medications and to look into NATURAL ALTERNATIVES first-they are what our bodies and brains are lacking therefore they are what our bodies and brains need. If you haven’t got the money for a naturopath(i didn’t) then do your own research. My life hasn’t been my own since starting effexor.(thought depression and anxiety was bad?)I have constant permanant tinnitus and hearing loss/deafness(i’m 37),memory loss, fatigue, I used to be a teacher and now i feel out of my depth intellectually with any conversation- I forget words, have slow response etc etc. muscle aches and degeneration throughout my body and my neck is so achey and stiff that i have to go physiotherapy. Oh the list goes on but because of my concentration i’ve sort of lost the flow !!. Basically the come down effects of effexor withdrawal cannot be avoided if we are to be free of this horrible poison forever,but there is hope and help in the form of natural amino acids and food supplements which our bodies are lacking in the first place. I find it hard to believe that we call these food supplements ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES- these are the only way out. This is day 5- yes i have got the withdrawal symptoms but i feel more positive clearer and motivated and excited and i know there is hope- yet on AD’s there is just – nothing – just pickling of ones brain and emotions and nasty(often long term damaging) side effects. I researched and found out that there are lots of blood tests and tests that can be done to find out what minerals, vitamins etc our bodies are lacking and that more often than not this is a cause of depression and lots of it’s associated symptoms.Obviously , I know that it is not as simple as that for everyone but for all the research i done I only found good positve things about alternative remedies with lots of positve succesful results_ but best of all no poisoning of our brains or bodies. In particular:- EPA fish oil, 5 htp, Rhodiola rosea, gingko bilbao and Omega 3. There are more and i will update . I started with 5 htp at night on my 1st day without effexor and i was able to sleep exactly as i would have on effexor, I had rhodiola rosea, as it gives energy and motivation , in the morning with a vit c drink and gingkoa bilbao,increases bllood flow and ciculation in brain and is good for memory, then 1 more rhodiola at lunchtime with omega 3 as energy was slumping, Again 5 htp at night which helped sleep same as on effexor. Last night i didnt sleep and was awake and sweating (effexor withdrawal) so switched to
htp earlier in day There are no side effects to these and you can adapt and switch dosage to suit your needs. (following advice on labels etc)Sorry if this is preachy and long winded but i have had to do this between brain zaps/shivers, constant hot flushes and nauseau, louder than normal tinnitus and stiffer than ever neck. But do you know what? I’m actually looking forward to getting into bed and having night sweats and shivers and vivid dreams tonight be cause i know that it brings me 1 step nearer to being free of effexor and of course the n in the morning i can look forward to taking my supplements as i know they are doing me good. I will keep you posted………………..

February 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(284) Allie says:

I was on Effexor for 3 years. My emotions were quite flatline. I wanted to sleep all the time. I experienced migraine-like headaches and had to have shots to stop them. The worst part however was the loss of ability to think quickly and remember. My memory was extremely bad and was beginning to think I was developing Alzheimers. When I checked it on the internet the side effects listed loss of short and midterm memory, sometimes irreversible. I weaned myself off the drug but it has taken 2 years to start feeling like I am a reasonably intelligent person again. I think Effexor didn’t help the depression. It just made me zone out and become numb. I told my doctor I would rather be depressed than stupid.

February 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(285) karen says:

The symptoms I am experiencing currently are directly related to the taper and eventual discontinuation of Effexor. This has not been a pleasant experience. I have had nausea, muscle aches, irritability, fatigue, strange dreams and no energy. I am sure this will pass but it is not pleasant in the mean time. I feel like I have the flu. In addition, I can say that I finally understand what it feels like when people say they have “brain shivers.” It is different than dizziness which I have also experienced. When I move my head or even my eyes, if feels like shifts in my brain…so hard to describe, but not comfortable. It adds to the nausea. I have been unable to do anything in the past few days. I do not like this feeling and look forward to being free of the discontinuation flu.

February 15, 2009 at 10:02 am
(286) tamara says:

I PRAY EVERY DAY …….
THIS STUFF IS POISON……..
Everyone here has posted severe withdrawls of effexor. I thought I was going CRAZY………
-buzzing in my ears, head….. it becomes so intense that I feel like I can’t live like this anymore. When I brush my hair, my ears get a feeling of vibrations. Very weird feeling.
That floating or phantom out of body feeling is really affecting my day to day living.
I am trying to carry on with my normal routine of working, going to the gym etc….
I wonder if people notice if I am feeling out of sorts… because when my symptoms are at it’s peak, I get paranoid if I am looking out of sorts when I am around people.
I don’t go out and socialize with friends and
family, as I don’t feel like my brain is there. THIS IS DAY 10 OF NO MORE EFFEXOR, AND HAVE MANY WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS OF MANY DIFFERENT NATURES.
Thankyou to everyone that is a support on here…. as I thought I was the only one that is going nutso…
The most upsetting thing is, that during my process of going through a lengthy and bitter divorce…. the judges, lawyers think that I am using this as an excuse not to work.
HEY, you assholes, walk in my shoes for one day of these symptoms and then you’ll understand.

February 16, 2009 at 2:25 am
(287) Lillian says:

I have been on several antidepressants, antianxiety, antipsychotic, and sleep meds for 20 years. I have been having severe allergic reactions to limictal and seroquel. So after a “fight” with my psychiatrist’s asstitant on Jan. 29, 2009 I quit everything cold turkey. Well starting about Feb 9th-10th and now on the 15th I am having…fried brains, nausea, vomiting, sweats, chills, insomnia, emotional breakdowns, muscle pain, tremors…it’s horrible. I started back on a small dose of an SSRI to help me get through this. I couldn’t take it any longer. That 100mg of zoloft provided some relief today. Of course it’s 2:24 am…and I am not sleeping. I hope anyone who is considering taking an antidepressant…really think it through and try EVERY alternative before submitting your body and BRAIN to these chemicals..

February 16, 2009 at 2:42 am
(288) Lillian says:

Wanted to comment on Kelly’s 257 post. You go girl…thinking of a fitfull, sweaty night as one step closer to freedom from drug withdrawals!! were gonna make it!!

February 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm
(289) Vic says:

I am very upset, frightened and teary, have been on 150mg Sertraline for a year, and the doctor has put me onto Tricyclic anti-depressants Lofepramine. I’m experiencing terrible electric zaps from my head through to my fingers. I am going to see the doctor tomorrow. I lowered the dose of Sertraline over the course of a week then started the new antidepressant. After reading all this I feel more scared and want to come off everything completely. See what happens with the Doc tomorrow. :(

February 20, 2009 at 11:36 pm
(290) Sarah says:

After a full week of thinking I’m dying I can finally put my thoughts to rest! (Not really b/c I can’t sleep!) I seriously thought I was going to pass out the past few days. Like so many of you have said before, I would have NEVER gone on this disgusting drug had I known the possible withdrawl symptoms. The brain shivers and feelings of nausea have been the worst. However, the disturbing, vivid dreams and body aches are keeping a close second. Thank goodness I had winter recess this week. All I did was lay down and try to be comfortable (HA!) I’d been on effexor for about 2 years and I’m so scared I will never be the same as I was before I took this awful drug…so glad to hear that I’m not alone!!

February 21, 2009 at 6:03 am
(291) sharon says:

I wanted to give support to those getting off Effexor. When it was failing to help with panic disorder I decided to cease taking it. I tapered down to 37.5 and then began taking Prozac 20mg. After three days on Prozac I stopped taking the Effexor but did take Clonazapan twice a day for the panic. I only stayed on Prozac for another week and now am only on the Clonazapn which is working well for anxiety. I had a rough couple of weeks at first but took some time off work and walked and stayed in the fresh air as much as I could. The withdrawal was so much easier though than quitting cold turkey. Four weeks later and I still get brain shivers but other than that I seem to be doing fine and hope it remains that way. If depression sets in I am going to look at st john’s wort. I am already taking lots of supplements which help. Word of caution that taking the prozac on top of effexor can result in o/d of seratonin and your pharmicist will tell you what to watch out for.
Good luck.. Effexor should be a banned drug.

February 24, 2009 at 10:32 pm
(292) Janice Hartness says:

I have been on effexor for 9 months and it has affected my bloodpressure. I was 168 over 108 Sunday morning. I went to my family doctor and she seemed to think that it was the effexor. She told me to start taking a lower dose because I was taking 150 and to start taking 75 for 4 days and then 35 for 4 days.I have been monitering my blood pressure and it is coming down some but the headaches I am having are terrible. I wish I had never taken this drug. Has anyone else experienced the high blood pressure? Thanks for your help.

March 1, 2009 at 10:26 am
(293) Bruce says:

I was on prozac for 4 yrs. I never thought I was depressed. I was a victim of a bad shrink, a shallow shrink who got nervous when my tears, emotions, and memory connections over the loss of a family member were actually contributing to what could have been greater clarity or growth. All the advice around me said, “give it a try for 3 months”. My mistake number 1.
I took 10 to 40 mg a day at various times during this 4 yr window. I lossed all feeling. I
was not sucessful tapering, it probably was psychological. But all that aside, I stopped cold turkey and used Percoset to offset the hideous side affects. That worked!!! When the major side effects subsided, I stopped the percoset. No matter what they say-if SSRI’s are bad.

March 9, 2009 at 7:15 am
(294) Nordic Lady says:

Hi there all my fellow sufferers.

I’m going through day 6 today and experiencing everything mentioned above. I’m going to see my MD today to have a talk. I’ve gone through this cold turkey before a few years back and I wish I hadn’t started Effexor again.

I really need to function so I need something to take the tip of the torture. A sleep would be great too.

I would like to know how Liz (226) is doing. She was taking it very slow and I’m excited to know if she got bad withdrawals after quitting completely.

Zipp zipp…

March 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm
(295) Katie says:

On day 26 post cold turkey effexor withdrawals. Most of the symptoms are gone. I’m just left with a weak and shaky existence. It seems I have a day here and there where I feel “me” again but then the next day I feel dizzy and tired. I’m hoping this crap leaves my body soon. I shouldn’t have been on it in the first place. My doc gave it to me because I have trouble sleeping. I see him on Thursday and I will be telling him that handing out this drug to anybody is irresponsible. For those of you still in the first 2 weeks of withdrawal, stay strong, it will subside. It’s like that scene in Trainspotting, only without the creepy baby on the ceiling! I just keep reminding myself of how I felt 2 weeks ago and that I am much better now. Not perfect, but better. Hopefully next week will be even better. I’m managing to do small tasks in the house and even making my kids laugh again. Stay strong people!!

March 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm
(296) Ferrell says:

Thank God for this forum!!!! I am on day 3 of effexor withdrawal and I’m in H***!! I thought I was going crazy. I mentioned what my brain was doing (brain shivers) and she thought it might be withdrawal symptoms so I googled effexor withdrawals and it came up with this forum. I’m so grateful to know that I’m not really going crazy and that there is hope that it will eventually subside.

I was put on effexor 8 years ago for major depression and anxiety attacks. I have a history of childhood ritual abuse and was dealing with the memories surfacing, flashbacks, nightterrors and all that goes with the healing process. I have to say the effexor helped me become more functional and with the therapy and self-work I’ve done, I was finally feeling ready to get off the drugs. I’ve been planning this for a year and a half, tapering slowly from the 150 to 75 to 37.5 in 6 month increments. I didn’t have any major problems except when I’d forget a dose. A couple of hours later, I’d feel not so great and had the brain shivers (I didn’t know what to call them then). That would remind me to take it.

Then when I saw my doc a couple of weeks ago, I told him I was ready to go off and he agreed. He said I should take half of my regular dose for a week and then I’d be fine not taking any. Boy was he wrong!!!

The half dose was fine, minor symptoms, but when I went off completely, it’s been a totally different story. I hate this!!

I appreciate reading all the posts and encouragements to stick with it. It’s helped me feel like I can do this! I’m going to find someone to pick up some activated charcoal, ginger and the other things that have been recommended and hopefully that will help.

You’re all GREAT and I’m so glad you decided to share your journeys with everyone! God bless!

March 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm
(297) Nordic Lady says:

It’s day 11.
Wow, what a ride it’s been! Today was not so bad. Much less of the tzzzz, tzzzzz (you know what I mean) and I’m able to concentrate much more. I’m a graphic designer so I’ve been totally useless! Thank God I’m the owner or I would for sure be out of a job by now.

I wish I could put a lid on my temper. I’m very easily ticked off.

I went to see my MD and he gave me very mild sleeping pills and that helps a lot. A good sleep does wonders.

Those past 11 days have been like a mixture of the worst hangover ever and menapause. Total nightmare!

We are getting through this together!
Be optimistic and strong.

March 17, 2009 at 12:19 am
(298) A says:

i dont beleive that you are having withdrawals that started 6 months after you stopped taking paxil. that doesnt make sense.

March 19, 2009 at 3:38 am
(299) Nordic Lady says:

Itīs day 16.

Iīm finally getting through this. The temper is getting much better and my energy is back. Concentration is almost there as well.

I’ve been taking SAM-e and couple of other natural supplements. It might help you too, so go and see a specialist in that department.
Don’t forget to eat healthy. No junk food!

NO MORE EFFEXOR, EVER! They made me mentally numb while I was taking it and while quitting it.

I’m not going to leave more comments here. I just want you to know that you can do this! Take one day at a time. I’ know it sounds surreal now, but it will get better. I know because I’ve been through this. Waiting for the brain shivers, nausea, hot flashes, shivering and temper tantrums to stop, and that was just 10 days ago.

I feel like a huge load has been lifted off me. Today I’m going to the gym after a very long break. It’s a great way to get energy and let out some steam.

Again, don’t give up! YOU CAN DO IT.

Good luck to you all :-)

March 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm
(300) me says:

Reading all of this, doesn’t make me feel much better, Effexor took away 2 years of my life. Cost me my husband, my daughter and now that I am better, I finally see that it was the effexor all along. Do NOT take this medication, what it did to me is not reversable…

March 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm
(301) liz says:

Nordic Lady, if you are checking back… you wanted to know how I was doing. I am doing really very well. I am still taking a miniscule amount of effexor, but that is my choice right now. Maybe 4 or 5 weeks ago I started having a fuzzy head, light headed feeling and I thought maybe I was having a withdrawal issue… turns out it was a weather system going through and I took some decongestant and that took care of the symptoms. But in the meantime I backed up one week on my withdrawal regimen and slowed down even more, on the theory that the less I take the more of a difference removing even small amounts of drug will make (percentage of drug being removed from the current dosage). Anyway, I bought some empty capsules from a local pharmacy, am currently putting only 15 pieces of efffexor into one of the empty capsules. I will take that dosage for 3 days, then take only 14, then 13, etc. I am in no hurry, and only desire to be off effexor with no problems. By my choice I will take 7 more weeks, I’m guessing, to be done with this whole thing. But in the meantime, I feel fine, no symptoms, no problems relating to effexor withdrawal. It has worked very well for me, and I hope that sharing the info will help someone else successfully quit their dependence on their drugs also!

April 15, 2009 at 12:23 am
(302) Glory says:

My husband and I are both on effexor. He has taken it for over ten years. If he misses a dose, he definitely gets the brain shivers, nausea, and pain. I, however, begin with an electric shock feeling in my lips. This is my first clue that I have forgotten a dose. I don’t have the brain shivers. I would like to not be dependant on this medication. I went all day today full of energy and got a lot accomplished. It wasn’t until about ten o’clock that I felt the electric shock feeling and remembered I missed my dose. However, I now wonder if my energy level was because I forgot. If so, I would love to get off this medication and embrace what I could accomplish each day. Any thoughts?

April 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm
(303) Lynn says:

ditto to all of those who have “brain zaps”. I was on Zoloft years ago and thought I would never get off due to the “dizzies” which I tried to describe to my neurologist. He just thought I was overreacting. I Very reluctantly went on Effexor and am afraid will never get off as I can’t handle the withdrawal nausea and brain zaps. At least Zoloft came in liquid which I could then take pediatric doseage until off… At this point would rather take the med than handle withdrawal……

April 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm
(304) Angeline says:

I have been on fluoxetine for a year or so (Effexor XR before that) and several months ago I was weaned down to 10 mg a day. I felt fairly ok with the 10 mg, although due to some stressful life situations, I was having kind of a hard time. Makes it kind of hard to know if it is the reduced dosage or life, huh? Still, life can be stressful, so I just thought it was me. I wanted to get off of it completely, which my Dr. was fine with. He told me I could either stop completely or take a pill every other day. I tried the every other day and kept forgetting to take it on the “on” day. So I just stopped about 3-4 weeks ago. The last week or two my emotions ahve been incredibly heightened and I have been crying over everything. I mean, seriously, I can’t seem to control the crying fits. My emotions are very close to the surface and almost uncontrollable. I spent half of my workday yesterday crying, which is unacceptable. I don’t necessarily feel the same way that I did during the height of my depression, but my feelings of despair have returned in moments (fleetingly). Again, I have some life situations that are painful rightow. Is it life? Is it the drug withdrawal? Am I simply processing my emotions the way I would naturally, without chemical interference? Not sure, but after my last crying fit, I am tired of this! I need advice!

April 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm
(305) Peter says:

I’ve been on Effexor, Lamictal, and depakote for about 3 months with reasonable success so far. Does anybody here have anything at all good about effexor? Should I press my prescriber for info about the efficacy and side effects?
Thanks very much.

April 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm
(306) Tim says:

i’ve withdrawn from Cymbalta and effexor with out too many side effects. i took one 20mg dose of prozac each morning for 3 days and the withdrawal symptoms were minimal lasting about 2 weeks.

April 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm
(307) Mdd says:

I’m at the end of the third week of weaning myself off Luvox. It has become a living hell. The brain zaps are constant (one every thirty seconds to a minute, every hour I’m conscious), my emotions feel like they’ve been put in a blender and the physical tremors mean I can no longer drive. I’m absolutely at my wit’s end with this, as a student it’s impossible for me to study for more than five minutes at a time before the zaps are just too much and I wind up dizzy and nauseous. I used to get the zaps any time I missed a dose of my medication (100mg – a fairly low dosage) but weaning myself off the drugs has made the zaps an almost constant fixture in my life. The pain and despair seem endless, even when my common sense tells me everything will be okay, my drug-addled brain feels nothing but despair. My doctor had wanted me to switch to Effexor after Luvox but I can safely say that is NOT going to happen now. Reading all your stories has told me more about withdrawal from these drugs than any doctor has.

April 30, 2009 at 2:39 pm
(308) Suzanne says:

If you ever forget to take paxil ( one dosage), it can ruin your day if you don’t ignore the lethargy and feeling like your brain is flipping or heavy.

I forgot to take my paxil last night and boooo
it is not fun.

Anyway, hope this helps someone.

Never miss two. This is when the shocks, fevers, dizziness, zaps, will make you feel like you are wigging out totally!

May 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm
(309) Debbie says:

OMG!!!! finally i see something about the bizarre phenomenon that i also described as random electrical surges in my brain. zzzzttt. i was really concerned that something serious was going on….and it still might be since it doesn’t seem that anyone in the medical profession can tell us anything about this….most haven’t even heard of it! i’m off of this stuff STAT!

May 10, 2009 at 9:07 pm
(310) Howdy S. says:

Went to GBMC 3 weeks ago with headache really bad. Go to emergency room. Really feel really bad. Wife goes maybe have brain tumor. AHHHHHHH then I get a catscan and now the fun begins. I staterd having seizures and crying and it hurt real bad and got worse and worse. i had no idea what was going on. I told the doc i had been drinking alot of coffee and ready about flu stuff because I had had it and was really sick and it did not seam like a normal flu. It seamed weird like huge amounts of yellow fluid. well i think a forgot to take a dose or two of effexor. And they let me rot there at the Hospital nobody said ONE thing about you are having withdraw you be ok they just let me go through hell. I had no idea not a clew till i got home.
But there is more they put me in Sheppard Pratt and then they put me on this poison shit Divalproex and my legs swelled like trees
trunks. Fuck them I ain’t taken any of this shit anymore. 3 Doctors and NO NO NO mention of SSRI withdraw syndrome.

May 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(311) Anne says:

I had been taking effexor for 4.5 years for anxiety and depression. At first it seemed to work, then the dosage had to be increased in order for it to be effective. I was up to 300 mg. I gained 40 lbs, had horrible insomnia and chest pain to name a few symptoms.

I’ve been off it for 7 weeks now and this has been the most difficult 7 weeks of my life. I’ve had brain shivers, nausea, hostility (that is mild for the way I feel), itchy skin to the point of breaking into tears because it was so unbearable, flu symptoms – the aches and pains of a regular flu X 10, crawly, ‘picky’ skin and restless body. I’ve wanted so badly to sleep only to walk for hours (either in the house if the weather was bad or outside). This has indeed been agony and it’s not over yet.

Does anyone know whom to contact in Canada to perhaps begin a class action lawsuit? This is a terrible drug and shouldn’t be on the market.

Anne

May 13, 2009 at 10:26 am
(312) saje says:

The end of this month will be 1 year off Effexor XR. I don’t take any other antidepressants. Only bp and cholestorol meds- I am still having the weird head pressure/cotton feeling (I don’t even really know how to describe it). Almost feels like a constant sinus infection. I’m still having the vertigo/dizzy/tingling. I am trying to keep positive and keep doing day to day things, but it is hard- I can’t wait to feel “normal” again.

May 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm
(313) Anne says:

What does your physician say about the extended length of time for these side effects?

Are you having any other side effects? Was wondering how your energy level is. Mine seems to be better on my good days. Being on effexor made me lethargic.

Anne

May 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm
(314) Anne says:

Hodwy S:

Read your post. Wow, you have gone thru hell and back. For some reason the doctors seem reluctant or truly don’t know about the side effects.

Have you thought about alternative medicine to help get you thru this hard part? It does get better. I’ve been off Effexor for almost 2 months now. There are good and bad days. I’ve been utilizing alternative medicine because western medicine certainly has let us down with effexor.

May 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm
(315) Lorie says:

I have been off effexor for maybe 3 months. I would never recommend anyone take that drug. While I took it, it helped,but one day i didnt take it till late in the day and realized how horrible I felt. At the time I didnt know it was the effexor. I decided a little while after that to stop and I hated it I couldnt sleep my brain felt weird and I felt like I was very alone in this world. I am also a recovering drug addict and coming off pain pills wasnt as bad as effexor. I was on the highest dose possible. It has been 3months now since I took it and while I was still depressed I felt better after the withdrawals stopped. Never again will I go through that. Now I take wellbutrin and I swear by that medicine even if I dont take it I dont feel any different. I call it my happy drug. It not only helps my depression it has helped me to lose weight, stop smoking as many cigs as I used to and helps your energy levels. I take 450mg and have been taking it for about 2 and 1/2 months and I feel like a new woman. Anyone reading and going thru effexor withdrawals they do stop after about 2 weeks of totally being off dont give up you’ll be glad you did it.good luck!!!

May 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm
(316) liz says:

This is probably my last post. I am completely off of the Effexor XR, had been taking 150mg/day, but in August 2008 started reducing my dose. I purposely weaned off slowly, since this drug causes me to feel so bad when I miss a dose. I have posted 4 previous times – post #211, #245, #255, #275 that detail my experiences. What I want to tell you today is that I am TOTALLY OFF MY EFFEXOR with NO SIDE EFFECTS AT ALL! My last pill was two nights ago, and I am side-effect free. I took it slow and easy, giving my brain time to adjust, and believe that I am done with Effexor forever! YAY!!! So, it can be done, and I want you all to be off of these meds, with no side-effects, too! Please take it slow, be deliberate, have a plan, keep track of your progress, be patient, and you can and will have success! Best wishes to you all!

May 18, 2009 at 4:01 am
(317) Beth says:

Wow! Double wow! I am so glad that I took the time to read all of these postings (yes, I read them ALL…after sleeping 8 hours during the day today, now I can’t fall asleep). When I started ADs almost 2 years ago, my doctor and I felt it was more of a situational depression. Approximately 3 years ago my daughter (my 2nd child) was born 6 months before my beloved Mom passed away from cancer. We (dr. and I) chalked it up to post-partum and losing my Mom, plus all the other fun things that life throws at us. I never felt, prior to having a complete emotional breakdown on my first Mother’s Day wihtout my Mom, that I had had any problems with depression.

I do not like taking medications of any kind but certainly recognize the benefits of them. It takes me a while to reach for aspirin even for a headache. However, in my emotional state (2 years ago) I was ready to embrace anything that would take away the hurt. This past February, under my doctor’s supervision, we started decreasing the dosage of effexor xr. (I had been at 150mg, then we went to the 75 and most recently the 37.5). I did not have side effects during the decreases, but past experience of missing even one day’s dose, I knew what to expect when we stopped the 37.5mgs. Ok, I THOUGHT I knew what to expect. I had had the brain whooshes, the ringing, the dizziness if I missed one day. My last little nasty pill was Tuesday and each day I got worse. I turned into an evil witch…worse than Milificent, worse than Ursula or any of those Disney witches. My poor children! My poor hubby! I’m almost embarassed to say but on day 4 off of effexor (yesterday), I went to Urgent Care(it was the weekend and I couldn’t see my doctor) and went back on.
In my heart, I want to be off of it completely so I can be the best wife and mother. I used to be a very positive, active, fun-loving person and I want to find that person again without drugs. My advice (especially if you have young children) is to have your support system in place. Talk to family and friends before you go off so they know what’s going on. I will be attempting to get off of this again soon (when my husband has some time off of work). I think it helped in those few days of not taking effexor to have a supportive person in my physical presence. Prayer was soothing for me. I am ready to try some of the natural remedies others have suggested. And this next time I stop, I’m going to be determined to ride it out, now that I know it will take longer than I imagined.

God bless you all for your words, advice and encouragement! Please keep posting!

May 18, 2009 at 10:59 am
(318) Caryn says:

I have just spent countless hours reading all the comments on Effexor. I too weaned myself off but not in proper way. I just cut back to every other day then every few then to once a wk and then none!I could not stand thoughts of dosages being lowered for fear Dr would just keep me on ……….I WANTED OFF THIS ADDICTIVE POISON PERIOD~! I started with low dosage after untimely death of my husband. My pyschiatrist must have found this easier than to give me more than 5 minutes of his time! So just get out the prescription pad and voila…..be done with her. I had no clue what I was in for. Did it work? No pill can bring back a loved one! It did even me out so to speak but mostly masked true feelings and believe me talking to a professional would have been much better than to be made into a zombie with nitemares. Finding this site has been a Godsend for I truly thought the feelings I was getting in head was a brain tumor or I was close to a stroke. The “zaps” would wake me out of a sound sleep kinda like a bolt of lightning or electric shock scaring the daylights out of me. My insurance co-pay does not accept this demon drug, thus would pay very little towards it and it ‘ain’t’ cheap. So! I decided to get off. I would not advise anyone to ‘try this at home’….I had no choice tho as my shrink just kept putting me off and telling me I was imagining things.
I had to go out of town for a few days and forgot my effexor and I thought I would lose my mind and my face felt like popcorn was popping in my cheeks, I was disoriented, nauseated, tense.I told my Dr and his response was arrogant as usual. “This does not happen” My eye it does not happen! If I missed one dose I was like a drug addict crawling for the next one. The worst tho by far was the noises in head and finding this site and realizing I am not crazy nor alone has brought some comfort. I am now a wk without effexor …..had to do it myself as my Dr would not help me…..(kickbacks?)I have a ringing in my ear….my head feels weird and my vision is bit blurred and I just am not up to par at all. I cry very easily but part of that is the delayed grief this ‘magic potion’ kept away. I needed to “feel” I needed to get those tears out and not be put on something to mask grief and it also masked joy…..everything was on auto-pilot.So, after almost 3 yrs I had to do something and do it alone for no physician would help me and I cannot afford the side effects nor the expense of this highly addictive drug any longer. I am trying to eat healthy, rest, get outdoors and keep talking to friends on phone. My balance is not good and I tend to be bit short-tempered however I will not give up and I will never go back on this. I am also taking multi-vitamins and praying to God this withdrawl nitemare does not last much longer tho I know it will only being wk or more off. Thanks to all these posts I now have hope and now I can grieve naturally and who knows …in time smile and laugh again. The effexor kept me leveled but so artificial. One needs to experience both joys and sorrow in a natural way and if help is needed seek a professional who will listen and give you the time you need or maybe something mild temporarily. Thanks to all who gave me hope on this and understanding and facts that this may be a longer road than I expected, (side effects of withdrawl but mostly for calming my fears that I was not having a stroke or getting senile or a brain tumor. Now I understand why my lips went numb….why my hands and feet tingled and why the sweats at nite so bad I thought I would go crazier………and the nitemares that sat me straight up in bed are results of a bad, bad pill called effexor! I never could pinpoint the sound and feeling in brain. It’s a ZAP alright and it would echo it was so bad and many sleepless nites would go on and on.
Bless you all for sharing and wish me luck as I do all of you and the best thing you can ever do is warn anyone of this poison and if a Dr wants to put you on this and not HEAR you out. Run, don’t walk til you find a physician who is worth his salt and will listen to you. If it’s sorrow, let it run it’s course, gather friends and family and clergy close, pray. Time heals! NOT EFFEXOR~
I wish you all continued luck in this scary journey and I shall forge on and hopefully someday look back on this nitemare and be grateful it’s over. I cannot imagine what heroine or cocaine withdrawl is like but I have to imagine it’s sorta like this! (all legal too)I know a person who works at a very low level at Wyeth and he makes over a hundred grand a yr with perks galore and trips to home office in Belgium. All on us!
Bless you all and good luck and pray for me.

May 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm
(319) Agent J says:

I feel for all of you, I am stopping Lexapro and feel horrible. Been off for a week and replaced it with prozac for now. Found a website I would recommend to everyone! Called theroadback.com — it’s an all natural program to wean yourself from psych drugs of all kinds. Please please check it out…

June 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm
(320) Ang says:

OMG THANK YOU GOD BLESS YOU
DOES ANYONE HAVE ADVICE FOR COMING OUT TO A EMPLOYER?
I have a great job and am DAY 10 with massive efxr w/d, please help, do you continue to try to make the day in hopes no one walks too fast past you and you fall down like a dope, or throw up??

June 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm
(321) Larry Nienhaus says:

Wow!is about all I can say after reading down through this list (and other sites). I am not to happy right now with my doctor or shrink. I was started on a generic (cheaper) for Effexor a little over three months ago. In the begining I felt better, more relaxed, easy going. I thought this was the medication for except for the slight sick feeling in my stomach. It felt like it stopped working about two weeks later so my doctor went about increasing it until I was on 250mg. I did not feel better and things were getting worse (even my wife said so). I tapered down to 150mg a day two and half weeks ago however I have just been feeling worse and worse every day. I left work early today because I feel like I am coming apart. I started my internet search and was shocked at what I found and some angry with my self for being so trusting when I know the whole medical business is about making money and not really making us better. I have an appt with my doctor tomorrow and I am going to take charge. I will have him get me a list of possible meds that I will research before I take anything again.

June 14, 2009 at 9:47 pm
(322) paul says:

If you check out comment #256 thats me. I have been off Effexor now for several months. I decided to return to this forum to let all of you who are struggling with anti-depressants that YES there if life after you get off. And YES it is a good life. So much of the past few years has come into focus emotionally. I suppose it was neccessary at the time I began but it went on for way too long. That being as it may I want to give a word of encouragement to all of you who are trying to withdraw completely from ssri’s. Effexor specifically. In my case, where I was at,the best advice I got from this forum was about weaning slowly even from the 37.5 mg capsules. Yeah, I was scared and emotionally fragile.And wasn’t sure I could make it. But I did. And successfully. Determination was a large part of that success and I know many of you have that determination. Keep going. You’ll find out for yourself that you have the strength. And with a little prayer you CAN do it. No doctor ever had any advice on how to get off. The truth is that they just don’t know. The only ones who can really understand are those of us in the situation. Reading these blogs was the only thing that got me to the finish line in my hour of need.Thank God. Actually life is better than ever now and I wanted to come back here to share that !!

June 15, 2009 at 6:33 pm
(323) Krista Lodter says:

Thank God… I feel like a victim in some kind of strange puppetry play with my head and stomach being lurched around. I have put on POUNDS these past couple years after starting Effexor. My breathing became very labored and I felt like I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. I used to be able to do two to three times as what I now accomplish in a day.

This is only Day 3 of not taking any Effexor and am miserable after slowly easing off it over the past three weeks. The pain in my knees is keeping me awake. My legs are even more restless than they have been lately. The screwy, light-headed Brain Zaps as people have called them are making me feel even more nauseated. And my dreams — cheez…

Thanks to all who have been willing to be open and post the good, the bad and the really ugly. I feel as though I’m doing something behind my doctor’s back by getting off this horrible drug.

As others before me, I will write back in a couple weeks to let you know where I am in the withdrawal symptoms. If I need to, I’ll read your comments every day to make sure I don’t give up!

Peace to all of you who are trying to do the same right now. Just know we have each other to depend on while we’re going through this nightmare.

June 18, 2009 at 11:25 am
(324) Mike says:

I have been on a pretty low dosage for about only 6 months (for migraine, in which I believe is a misdiagnosis). At the highest was 50mg… at the lowest, 12.5mg. I was on 12.5 mg per day for past 3 weeks as I have been tapering off. All of a sudden, 3 days after my last dose, I have been getting what I guess are “brain zaps”- sudden, brief dizziness, almost like a shiver deep in my head. I feel OK when I am still and looking straight, but head and eye movement together seem to cause these very uncomfortable unpredictable sensations. Could this be withdrawl? Any idea how long it lasts? I didnt think I would get any withdrawl since i had been on such a low dose (12.5mg) and wasn’t on this stuff all that long….

June 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm
(325) Anne says:

Hi Mike:

Yes, that is one of the many withdrawal symptoms of going off effexor. It shouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks and gradually gets better. Is that the only symtpom you have?

I have been off effexor 3 months now and while there are still some minor withdrawal symptoms, I do feel so much better overall.

I find I have more energy, I’ve lost weight, and my mind is clear. One thing I have found unusual is that I no longer crave certain foods such as butter or oils. In fact, I now have an aversion toward them – it’s as if going off the effexor has changed my taste buds.

Good luck.

June 22, 2009 at 3:26 am
(326) Robert says:

Cravings for oil-based products? Yes! Isn’t that strange; I developed the same thing a number of years ago, but I never associated with the venlafaxine.
The feelings of despair come over me after only 12 hours of withdrawal. It’s pretty nasty, really, but otherwise it’s been a very effective medication.

June 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(327) David says:

I have been on Effexor since the start of february (so almost 5 months now). I have seen the side effects of this drug on other people, and reading all the comments online has led me to the decision that I must come off this drug starting now. I am currently on 150mg, and will move to 75 starting tomorrow. I have never had an issue with substance abuse, and I actually have a fear of drugs, which is why I am proactively cutting the cord on this thing. The only real symptom I have is that my “good anxiety” (the positive life energy that makes me work hard day in and day out) is substantially decreased. My therapist recommended that I take welbutrin as a way to counteract this, but after a few days of this (with no side-effects) I have decided to stop entirely, before I even give the thing a chance to affect me.

Before I started on Effexor, I experience a traumatic event in my family, and I began experience incredible anxiety. I had been through this once before, where I was on lexapro for over a year, but I never noticed any difference with that drug either way. When I got off it, there were no symptoms either.

The thing that really got me to want to end my use of Effexor however, have been some lab results that I got recently. I had blood tests done right at the time that I had started Effexor (maybe a week or two in) and another batch of tests last month (mid-may). The first batch of tests showed my overall testosterone at the absolute lower normal limits, with my free testosterone below normal. I am a 28 year old male who exercises regularly and who is in good shape. The second batch of tests came back even worse, with a significant drop off of both overall and free testosterone. I will be getting the results of further tests back by the end of this week or the start of next, but from the tests that I have done thus far, and from the physical examinations done by a specialist in endocrinology and metabolism, the likelyhood that this is a result of some kind of petuitary tumor is small (other hormone levels are normal and I show no physical effects of this). I have found a study that says that effexor has been found to lower testosterone in men, and I’m hoping that this is the reason why such a major drop off occured (unless its a messed up lab result, which could be the case). Below is the link:

(http://www.springerlink.com/content/l02u72v951v77m7t/)

Wonder if anyone can comment on any of this stuff. Thanks

June 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm
(328) Terri says:

I have been on venlafaxine for a few months. Before that, I was on zoloft for about 5 months. I missed my 150mg dose last night and was a wreck today. I have the brain zaps, depression, anger, fuzziness, dyslexia within hours of missing a dose. Im a single mother of 5 young children and cant afford for this to happen again. I want to get off this med (and NOT be put on another)…but am afraid to do it. I know tapering off is the best way, but does anyone have any other advice to go along with it? What happens after I am off of it? Do I just go back to being depressed and anxious? Anyone have success with diet and exercise? Im not really interested in supplements though. How will I keep from having to be put right back on another awful med? I would think a good diet and exercise would help…but in that state, I don’t think I could find the drive or willpower to do it anyways. My doc is no help…and therapists haven’t done much for me either. I know I’m a strong woman…I’ve found a way to raise 5 kids completely alone with no help and no money while their father ran off with another woman and abandoned us. Why can’t I kick a little depression without screwing myself up with these drugs? I’m really desperate to get back to the long-lost days of feeling “normal”. I need to get my drive and motivation back for my kids sake.

June 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm
(329) Anne says:

Teri:

My email is: tscherby@hotmail.com. Email me with your email address and I’ll send you some info I got. It’s really helped me and I think it will help you as well.

Cheers,
Anne

July 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm
(330) David says:

This is my third day completely off Effexor. The good thing about the withdrawal symptoms is that they are so horrible that I don’t even want to think about the drug, let alone start taking it again. What kind of prescription drug creates these sort of symptoms? People talk about “brain zaps.” I don’t know what those are, but I regularly get this weird distortion in my audio field that feels like my brain is “beating” like a heart beats. It doesn’t hurt, but its noticeable and somewhat discomforting. My mood swings are also off the charts. I go for wanting to break someone’s face into pieces the one minute, to spontaneously crying the next, to just stopping the crying so convincingly that if someone walked in at that moment, they would have no idea that I was just bawling. The crying isn’t even focused on one specific area. I just start crying.

I’m glad I chose to get off this drug when I did, because at least with 4th of July weekend, I have more time away from work to deal with these symptoms. I don’t know how I am going to deal with the withdrawal symptoms of this while being at work. This will be really difficult.

So far, I have not experienced nausea, which is important because I have heard that this can be brutal. I have gotten dizzy however. Worst thing of all though are my bouts of anger. I can get so angry that I could just break somebody’s face. The gym and exercise has been a great way to deal with these symptoms, but I have been working out so hard that my body doesn’t have the strength to recover.

Hope that other people can relate to these symptoms, and I will let you know how the whole thing goes. They say recover takes about 2 weeks. Well, with only two days of this hell in, I can easily say that this is not a comforting thought.

July 13, 2009 at 1:32 am
(331) Miao says:

I was on Effexor XR for 10+ years at 300 mg/day. I have tapered down slowly (with my doctor’s advice): 300>>150>>75>>37.5 over two months. Now am on day 6 since last taking 37.5. I actually felt fine during the tapering down period — even felt great! But since 6 days ago have experienced the usual insane and wretched cavalcade of nastiness. Horrible, but I was encouraged to read here that some people felt better after 10 days. Thanks, gang.

By the way, to those who are trying to “detox” from Effexor — that is not what’s happening. You have no Effexor or its chemical remnants in your body. It has a very brief half-life and is gone very quickly, within about a day. No need to try to “remove poisons.” There aren’t any, at least not from the Effexor. The bad things are happening because your brain and body are trying to get everything back in order, now that Effexor is gone.

July 13, 2009 at 11:53 am
(332) star kidd says:

wow-i am so glad that i found this amazing post board. i stopped my effexor last thursday. i was taking it for about two years. after reading ALOT of these posting, i seem to feel pretty lucky because i only seem to have the brain shot things. just having them alone is the worst. i have been laying down for the last couple of days. i was looking for a way to get rid of these things. it seems that i have to wait it out i guess. i also had a clamping that would go up the back of my neck and to my head and clamp down for about a minute then go away. after reading these letters, i realize that it might have been from the effexor. my doc was cracking my neck and calling it head positioning syndrome. so i felt that i needed to post something because i feel everyones pain. any suggestions for the brain jolts. will check in later. thanks again. this board is AWESOME

July 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm
(333) Sarah says:

Wow. In a way, I’m relieved to find out that I’m most likely experiencing withdrawal symptoms of effexor and not pregnancy.

I had taken Effexor a couple years back for about 6 months or so, and was weaned off of it under the care of my physician. I don’t recall any severe adverse symptoms while reducing and eventually eliminating the drug altogether. Just a minor annoyance that made me feel like I needed to yawn all the time.

This go-round, I’ve been taking the Effexor for about 6 weeks. I ran out last Tuesday and didn’t bother to have the prescription refilled. Quite frankly, the sexual side effects were just too much for me to bear.

After reading the previous comments, I’m pretty sure that the nausea and “crazy” I’ve been experiencing for the last few days have much to do with my abrupt halting of the Effexor.

I’ve felt like I’ve been car-sick since Thursday afternoon. It’s like my brain can’t keep up with my eyes (at least that’s the best description I can give).

None of those “brain zaps” other people are talking about, but I do have a weird symptom no one else seems to have mentioned. You know that feeling right before you yawn? Kind of a tightening in your diaphram and the feeling that your eyes want to roll back in your head? I feel like that constantly, yawn or no.

It’s a relief to know I’m not the only one going through a rough time with this medication. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

BTW, sorry for making so many paragraphs. The nausea makes it hard for me to read large paragraphs so I’m trying to keep them short. Still nauseaus, unfortunately.

July 14, 2009 at 10:08 am
(334) star says:

i have been searching and searching for some relief comments. i am having trouble finding some. most of our comments are what we are experiencing now, and do we need to just wait it out or what. not trying to be nasty, i am frustrated. the articles i found are how not to have withdrawal. i think for most of us leaving a comment, we have them now. what can we do now??

July 15, 2009 at 9:04 am
(335) star says:

ok-its been a couple of days since my last post. i sucked it up and started taking Benadryl that i saw in some earlier posts. i dont know if it is that or just getting better at withdrawal but, something seems to be better. as i stated before that i only really had the “BRAIN JOLTS”, that was my only real big problem. so i wanted everyone to know that i is better taking this. i still have them, but it has taking off the edge. will be checking in later. have a nice day.

July 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm
(336) saje says:

Post #306 I have that same clamping feeling in the back of my neck. I have been off effexor xr now for about 1 yr 2 months. I do still get dizzy and my sinuses always feel full of pressure and the neck thing. Other than that… I am still able to function. I am married 2 kids and a full time student. I have to stay busy or the withdrals are worse. I do think life is better off the effexor!!

July 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm
(337) star says:

its only been a week today. i still get the dizziness or (brainy thingys) it kinda sends like a quick blast of wind thru my ears in like 3 or 4 sounds in a row. they are not as frequent but are getting better. in one of my earlier posts, i am taking benedryl a couple times a day but dont want to get hooked on them either. i did abruptly stop taking effexor because i was fired from my job and dont have a prescription plan anymore. i had no symptons when i started them. it was great and i felt really good while on them. thats how i found this board by research to help with the withdrawal. its a great tool. not knowing you are alone is a big help by itself. i thank anyone who posts on here, it is awesome!!

July 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm
(338) dave says:

Thanks to the postings over the years. After four years on a reduced (from six months at 75 mg to 37.5 mg dosage), I know from past mistakes of forgetting the meds while on road trips that the withdrawal brain shivers will come back in force once I begin the process of leaving effexor xr behind. However, they are beginning to occur at this dosage, so it is time to begin the taper and get off the medication. Prescribed for mild anxiety after a job loss, surely did “level” me out. Many of the effects you all outline – 30 lb weight gain when I had been a stick all my life, evening drinks to ease into bedtime, nausea, “brain slosh” when turning head left or right, sleep apnea developing, the “spark” going out of life, et al. Time to get back to the land of the living. Progress reports as this moves ahead. Using Doc friend as an adviser to make sure I don’t get too stupid.

July 19, 2009 at 10:16 am
(339) star says:

update for me: had to go to a picnic yesterday and tired of having a bad case of nausea, went to the drug store and bought some motion sickness stuff. box says one to two daily for adult. only needed one and was glad to finally have fun for a change. really worked good. but, i guess i will have to take them every day to get thru the days coming. figure, i will only use when its gets bad. just wanted to let everyone know that it did help.

July 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(340) star says:

felt pretty good today, first in a long time. took 2 motion sickness pills right away this morning for the sick stomach and that did the trick. just wanted to let everyone know that the motion sickness pills helped.

July 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm
(341) Dave says:

Now most of the way through day 5. I have kept a log of what has been going on, will post it tomorrow. Briefly, I opened the 37.5 mg cap, lined the beads up along a ruler at one inch, then cut 3/16 of an inch off the line, discarding. Wet finger pickup for the rest. No real bad things yet, but definitely things going on. Check back tomorrow for the full posting.

July 24, 2009 at 7:26 am
(342) Dave says:

6 day log for tapering
7/18/2009 Made the decision to discontinue effexor, bought recommended supplements and vitamins from blog.
7/19/2009 Opened xr capsule, lined up beads in 1″ line, cut 20% away, struggled to ge the rest back into the capsule, but did. Took the ~ 30 mg in morning. Slight agitation toward evening.
7/20/2009 Followed the same 20% cut, wet finger to pick up remainder, went to work. Some uneasiness, with no more brain shivers than before ( very few). Took Benedryl to stop bee sting itching, perhaps it will work on the brain stuff too.
25 mg Benedryl 9AM, 200 mg Ibu same time. Small but consistent headache at temples. 9:30 – Benedryl removed the uneasiness – but not the bee sting itch. Noticeable brain sloshing while working at terminal. Headache gone. Other than some uneasiness, day went fine.
7/21/2009 7:30 AM -Same xr dose, no Benedryl- not a bad drug for relaxing, the pits for working. No uneasiness so far today, hunger down a little bit, no upset stomach. No brain shivers yet.
9:00 – After taking xr, symptoms of the lowered dose arose, specifically brain slosh and difficulty tracking with eyes (not smoothe, stuttering movement), some dizziness (not brain shivers)
Interesting that there were no symptoms before taking the xr this morning. At 10:00, still not hungry or nauseous. Usually am by now. Had a tough time giving a public talk this evening, couldn’t bring my thoughts to the surface smoothly. No shivers, still uneasy, slept well.
7/22/2009 Tired this morning, hard time getting going. No shivers, not as uneasy, having a hard time articulating in meetings. 75% (~28mg) dose at 9:30 AM. Not hungry yet. No nausea.
Same vision problem as yesterday with the tracking difficulty. Similar light head after taking today’s dose. Nausea starting – this is all happening after taking the drug, not before!
7/23/2009 7:30 AM – Tired. Foggy brain this morning. Took same 28 mg dose, relatively quick response with slight dizziness and the same vision phenomenon. Fogginess abated some at that time.
10:00 AM Dizziness,no zaps . Again, hunger that has been present daily for years is not there before taking xr,there afterward.
Starting to see some differentiation between on and off the med. Hunger, zaps, zombie-like attitude are not noticeable off meds, arrive when taking the dosage. Focus on task is more difficult off med, uneasiness present as well. These conditions reverse when the med is in effect, kick in as soon as the med does. Noticeable tinnitus. A bit moody and defensive through mid-afternoon, then back up for balance of the day.

7-24-2009 Day has sstarted off with a little light headedness. Concentrating still not back to normal. Some tinnitus. All else OK so far, have not taken any xr yet. Remarkable decrease of brain shivers so far – a few, but less than when I was at the standard dose of xr.

Dosage history – 37.5 mg to start, reduced to 80% (30mg)for 3 days, then to 75%(28mg), stayed there for past three days. Will maintain through the weekend, then reduce again to 70%, or about 26 mg on Monday.

July 24, 2009 at 10:18 am
(343) star says:

last two days were pretty good. i didnt need any help with the motion sickness pills to help me out at all. i am very surprised that ,all in all, so far it has been pretty good for me from all the posts i have read. i did spend the first four days on the couch, but after that it did get better.. i know that the brain jolts are the worst thing i had. i wouldnt wish them on my worst enemy. lol. seriously, last two days went well. just keep telling yourself you dont this medication. post in a couple of days!!

July 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm
(344) mom2cats says:

started my effexor withdrawal hell a couple months ago by splitting 100 mg tab in half (my dose was generic 100mg 2xday)- not that bad, got the whoosh and zaps but it was tolerable. two weeks ago cut the tabs into quarters- again not that bad, I’d had worse just missing one dose. Then this last Tuesday, 7/21/09 after finding out that my COBRA hadn’t gone through, i decided to quit altogether. By Thursday it felt like i was coming off of heroin or crack. Sick doesn’t even touch how I’ve felt. i still have 60 tabs left so now i’m trying 1/8 tab 2xdaily now.

If i had known seven years ago when I was put on effexor how horrible the withdrawal was, i would have found another way to deal with depression and anxiety. i am becoming an advocate to make sure people know what this stuff will do to you.

Sorry for the rant but that’s about all my mind is capable of right now.

July 26, 2009 at 10:43 pm
(345) star says:

since my last post, its been good. only a couple of brain bolts once in a while. seems to be after reading these posts, no matter whether you wean off this stuff or just stop it the symptoms seem to be the same. some are worse than others but we have all seemed to suffer from something. like i said before in another post, the motion sickness pills really did help the nausea. that was my worst symptom, next was the brain jolts, never had that before. this drug was my first and only drug i ever had. i was at 150 mg. because i gained some weight and the lower amount wasnt working. i will wait about another week and check in again. good luck everyone, hoped i helped someone. i know that some posts really helped me out!! thanks for that!!

July 27, 2009 at 7:18 am
(346) Dave says:

July 29, Monday 7AM – Cut the dosage to 60% (22.5 mg)this morning, will see what happens this week. As Star posted, I expected far worse after reading what some of you have experienced. So far, it has been slow starts in the morning, the perpetual light head, and occasional brain shivers. Still wandering around in a haze on and off during the day. The “levelness” of the past four years is giving way to an edginess with increased awareness and caring, so I have to weigh my comments before blurting them out. Weight has stopped increasing, and I am ignoring that part until the xr has been totally discontinued. One major step at a time. 10 days into this and still truckin.

July 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(347) Jenjen says:

Can anyone tell me when the brain shocks stop… in general?? 1 week or 6.. or ever???

July 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm
(348) star says:

well, everyone seems to be different from what i gather, but its been almost two weeks for me and i only get them maybe once a day now. yesterday i didnt get any at all but today i had one time. the first four days i spent lying down because nausea and the brain joltz were extreme. so, all i can tell you is-it is better for me now. hold in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

July 28, 2009 at 1:06 am
(349) Metro says:

This has been a very informative website. I thought that I’d add my comment about Effexor xr 75mg. For one thing I started taking it less than a month ago. I was at the doctors for a regular visit to have my blood pressure and cholesterol renewed. And asked if she had any suggestions for increasing my libido. I’m a female age 51 and going through menopause. She said that some women that she prescribe it to have said that it had helped them. Which is weird considering that I’ve read just the opposite info. I also told her that my main problem was insomnia so she also gave me a script for 10mg of Ambien to take when needed.
The first thing that I noticed with the effexor was the general headache and pain in the back of my eyes. Having been on antidepressants before, I was aware that the headache would go away after a few days or so. I have to admit that I didn’t mind the lack of appetite, and it did help with the muscle ache in my lower back and hip. But the constipation was terrible-probably why people gain weight after being on it for awhile, they become filled with you know what!
Taking it in the morning would cause me to just want to sit on the sofa, yawn,and stare feeling sleepy because the Ambien doesn’t work to well for me, and besides I don’t want to become dependant on it. I have a friend who has been taking it for like 8 years.

So last week, I figured I’d try taking the effexor later around 6pm. At night sometimes I took Benadryl to help with sleep, but on Saturday after having several restless nights, I took the Ambien around 1am. The combination of the effexor xr with I’d taken hours earlier, and the Ambien, I had what I can only describe as an hallucination. I remember being in my kitchen making microwave popcorn, and eating a Butterfinger candy bar(this must have been the ambien ha) but then, it was like I was trapped in this dark tunnel, and couldn’t walk or find my way to my bed room! It was VERY SCARY. I live alone except for my 2 dogs, and it seemed like it took me forever to make it to my bedroom, in a one floor 3 bedroom house.

The next day I woke up, and decided that I would go back to my natural treatments like 5-HTP, Ginkgo, GABA, Omega oils for depression. An as far as the libido- Damiana, Scisandra, Muira puama, Wild Yam. Even though I was only on it for a little while, this is my second day without it and I have the “flu like symptoms” stuffy nose, sore throat etc. The muscle ache is back, but I think that I’d rather deal with that than take this medication on a regular basis. I’m sure that there are some people who are helped by this and other medications like it and I’m sure that there is a need for it however I wish that more research was done on natural remedies and that they were cover by health care.

July 31, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(350) kenneth mendoza says:

you people are so negative about medication. how many of you are taking the name brand vesus the generic brands medications? maybe thats why your having all these problems with your antidepressants.ITs a proven fact that generic drugs dont work sa well as the real the name brand drugs.Generic drugs are dont come close to the way the brand name is suppose to work. So try the brand name over generic.Your worth it when it comes to your health! So be positive and not so negative.Iam really sorry that you all are having bad side effects and i know not everyone could afford the real stuff but if there a will ther is a way! You all sound like your wounderful people so hang in there. Bye for now! love you and best wishes!

July 31, 2009 at 5:13 pm
(351) KEN says:

HOW MANY OF YOU ARE USING THE NAME BRAND DRUGS OVER THE GENERIC DRUGS THAT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

July 31, 2009 at 5:24 pm
(352) KENNETH says:

DEAR ONES CAN YOU PLEASE INDICATE IF YOU ARE ON THE NAME BRAND OR THE GENERIC ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS? YOU ARE ALL MENTIONING A WHOLE LOT OF DRUGS HERE. pLEASE BE SPECIFIC IF THEY ARE THE NAME BRAND DRUGS OR GENERICS!THANK YOU AND HOPE YOU ARE ALL FEELING BETTER! BYE FOR NOW.

July 31, 2009 at 5:30 pm
(353) star says:

yes, i did take the name brand of effexor. i do feel better today. when it comes to that kind of stuff, i dont try to get the generic brand. just wouldnt trust it. cost more-yes, but sometimes i dont feel like the generic is made as good.

July 31, 2009 at 10:26 pm
(354) star says:

oh yeah, 150 mg. just in case it makes a difference!

August 2, 2009 at 4:31 am
(355) Tasha says:

I am finishing my 2nd week of Effexor XR withdrawal. I was taking 300 mg a day, and I have tapered off over 3 months, with a doctor’s supervision. I know Effexor has a short half-life, but I consider it withdrawal when your body needs so much time to rehabilitate itself. I was on Effexor for several years, and the generic Wellbutrin. I gained weight, slept all of the time, and had to go on high blood pressure meds. My withdrawal symptoms have been decidedly mild, compared to many others who have posted here. I’ve mainly been shaky and nauseous, and my sleep has been fucked up, and sometimes when I’m driving, I feel like I might pass out. But psychologically, I feel MUCH better.

August 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(356) Kathryn says:

Found your site this morning in desperation to find a description to what my husband is going thru on Day#5 withdrawal. Was slowly tapered for over one year, now off with serc & gravol. problem is he’s not dizzy, only feels dizzy,says dizzy isn’t the right word, nor vertigo. White noise, ringing in ears is extreme. thank you for the term brain shivers. he’s been trying to describe what was happening but couldn’t put it to words other than a electrical discharge – like a 9 volt battery on his tongue but its in his brain. nasty soaker night sweats, loss of appetite. seeing things that aren’t there out of the corner of his eyes. Lucky, our doctor says there are no side effects and he to solider on. i went off the poision myself over 3 years ago – an ugly trip to say the least but happily free now! prays and thanks to all of you out there trying to cope. interested in Canadian Lawsuit too. Good luck to all.

August 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm
(357) Dave says:

15 days into the taper off of Effexor XR. Started a lowered dose of ~ 18mg three days ago. Dosage measurement of lining up the beads along a ruler, then cutting the line at the desired percentage of one inch has worked out well. As indicated in the earlier blogs, slight brain shiver activity, but not very often (every other day or so). Feel hung over every morning. Talked to Dr. this week, progress is ok with him. Talked to a psychologist yesterday, seemed surprised at the withdrawal effects, saying he had not heard of them. That particular issue has gotten plenty of press on this blog, so will move on.

Tired, still uneasy, Flickering eyesight, some edginess that requires control, appetite is now normal (no longer ravenous all of the time), going to 10 mg next Saturday per Dr direction. I realize I am having withdrawal effects, but coping has been simple since I have read your symptoms and understand what is happening when things occur. Thanks to all who have shared the experience. It is a shame that the manufacturer and the purveyors of this medicine do not see fit to provide the same guidance.

August 3, 2009 at 9:06 am
(358) PaulA says:

I am going through hell coming off lexerpro – saw this site today which has some interesting advise – will have a try – anyone tried tapering like it says on this site – ???

http://sites.google.com/site/myplasticbrain/

August 4, 2009 at 10:54 am
(359) liz says:

Replying to post #324-326… I was on the name brand Effexor, but still had typical symptoms (flu-like symptoms, brain zaps,…) if I went without a day or two of my meds. There may be differences between name brand and generic meds, but there wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling lousy.

August 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm
(360) star says:

to everyone on withdrawal, keep your head up and tell yourself you are going to beat it. i may have had a short road to recovery but i still had symptoms. why it was not so bad for me, i dont know. i now only have the brain zaps about once a day or none. i wake up at least 2 times at night and go right back to sleep.( never posted the wake-ups) too busy posting the worse symptoms. keep your chin up and you too will have to fight it. there is light at the end of the tunnel. just keep going, knowing now what these drugs do, i will never be on another medicine pertaining to anxiety or depression unless it is absolutely necessary. it must be my last resort. starting to lean towards natural things and self control. i will keep track of this board because it really helped me get thru it. thanks to all!!!

August 6, 2009 at 1:07 pm
(361) saje says:

Kenneth, I was taking the namebrand Effexor XR 75mg for about 3 yrs then 150mg for the last 2yrs. Weaned off over 1 month and May was 1 year being off.

August 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm
(362) Dave says:

3rd day of no Effexor XR, 21st day since tapering began. Periodic brain swooshes, puffy eyed tired, zap or two. The old energy levels have begun to return, getting things done for once. Thanks to all of you who posted. Your comments made this cessation of Effexor after four years controllable and predictable. Goodbye, and the best to all in your efforts with this particular drug.

August 10, 2009 at 11:49 pm
(363) Teresa says:

I have weened my way off of effexor now going about it the same as what I have read in all of your stories. I have not taken any Effexor in over a week now and I am still going through withdrawal symproms. I still have the “neuron mis-firings” as I call the sounds in my brain. For the past two days I have been shivering and I have had to turn up my air and cover up. I have no energy, no drive and still cry.
I just want to get this drug out of my system and move forward without these side effects. I wonder how long this is all going to continue on???

August 10, 2009 at 11:55 pm
(364) T says:

I only took the name brand drugs as my physician advised me to with any mental health drug.
Does anyone know how long after your final dose of effexor that it takes for the symptoms to just go completely away?

August 11, 2009 at 2:20 am
(365) John says:

I had a huge panic attack for no reason about 1 year ago which felt like a heart attack. I went to the doctor and after blood test(T4 which test for thyroid problem) he found nothing and sent me home. I had the same thing happen to me again and was suggested to see a psychologist who would get me on some mood stabilizers/medication which I believed I didn’t need but I didn’t want that experience to happen again. I was put on Clonazapam and the all famous Lexapro(10mg) which doesn’t sound like much according to this forum dosage wise but we all react differently to medication so I feel for all of you. I hated Lexapro, the side effects are awful and I don’t have to describe to you what those side effects are. I was on it for about 1 year but then I was told to ween off to 5mg of Lexapro for 3 months then go cold turkey. WOW did I blow up, I wont go into details but the withdrawal was awful and still is. I am experiencing nervous shakes, mood swings, irritability, and depression due to this is keeping me away from my social life. It has been only 2 weeks and the shakiness has gone down in severity but is still there with muscle aches and an upset stomach to beat. But here is what I recommend for anybody dealing with SRI withdrawl which have helped me cope and I would like to share what I have dealt with:
1: Try to stay off it, all the pharmacists I called say to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms is to maybe go back on it to like 2.5 or 5mg of your SRI and then go back down again. This for me wasn’t an option. I stay cold turkey to this day.
2. I decided to think outside the box and I tried acupuncture, for those who hate needles like me give it a try, it does not hurt and every time I went I felt better each time. Insurance plans usually don’t cover this but give it a try. You have nothing to lose. ($60 an hour usually w/o insurance) FYI. They helped my stomach indigestion plus open the door to eastern medicine advice.
3. Try to stay positive, this I was told a million times to stay positive and talk to yourself. Tell yourself you know whats going on, there is nothing I do about it but I will deal with it. This works, but its VERY hard to do, its too easy to give in and DONT! Think of that song…I get knocked down and I get up again…and their never going to keep me down….
4. Try to relax, take hot baths, get massages, listen to soft music, its helped me….try yoga.
5. Stay busy, the worst thing to do is to dwell on the problems which makes you more anxious and nervous. So go to work, do your errands, try to act as normally as possible.
6. Talk to a Nutritionist…The top ones that have been given to me is Calcium, Magnesium, and B6 vitamins which help with Serotonin. Don’t buy the ones over the shelf, do research on which ones are better..the extra money is worth it.
7. Stop calling your doctor/physician who prescribed you the SRI about all your problems, all they do is tell you, your ok, its normal, we will discuss this when we next meet. This didn’t help me at all, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it. This could lead to a panic attack due to the anxiety of waiting to see your physician…happened to me. (This forum helped me more reading it for 20 min then in 1 year talking to physicians on SRI withdrawl so I want to personally thank everyone who posted here for their support, their experience, and advice)
**If my posting helps one person I am glad to help and hope that people post not only what their going through but how they are dealing with it, people look for answers that nobody can give them and I believe this forum could benefit from your personal experience on it. As of right now I am dealing with SRI withdrawl from Lexapro which DOES GET BETTER OVER TIME…THINK POSITIVE! Life is too short, make the best of it!

August 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm
(366) Flo says:

I have been off paxil for a week and a half it’s been awfull

August 18, 2009 at 5:31 pm
(367) Robert says:

Psychiatry is a pseudoscience and a cult. I know many people who have committed instant suicide from the intolerable withdrawal symptoms of the drugs prescribed to them by psychiatrists. Psychiatric drugs cause permanent brain damage and permanent neurological and mental damage for LIFE!. The psychiatric community is aware of this but hide the evidence so they won’t get prosecuted and imprisoned. The only way to stop the suffering of psychiatric drug damage is to take out psychiatry. If you don’t, history will repeat itself.

August 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm
(368) star says:

thanks Robert, i know that i will have to be pretty bad before i go on that stuff again. coming off of it was the worse kind of sickness i had! EVER!!!! and, NEVER-again!!!

August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm
(369) Bert says:

I have been on effexor for 18 months and have tried to withdraw several times. the side effects for me are intolerable particularly chest pains. when i try to withdraw even slowly i get very emotional and cry easily and get depressed which i think are just withdrawl effects. I didn’t have a depression problem before and was prescribed effexor for anxiety caused by an extremly stressful job situation which has ended. I’m down to 75 mgs a day from 225 and am considering taking 6 months to a year to withdraw from the rest. does anyone think this is too long any advise is appreciated. Thanks

September 7, 2009 at 7:39 am
(370) Murat says:

Iím suffering from certain shock like feelings in my brain, which I
believe may due to cutting off my daily Cipralex dose (10mg in the
morning)three weeks ago. Iíve discussed this with my doctor and he
thinks this is due to the withdrawal effect. I dont quite
understand is the fact that Iím having almost none of these feelings in
the morning. They start around noon and peak in the evening. Could you
please help me?

Is this pattern normal/usual, no shock sensation in the
morning but evening?

September 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(371) Dee says:

Am so happy I found this site. Have been off effexor 75mg for 3 days…forgot to have it refilled before the holiday. So decided I would once again see how long I could go without. So far, things haven’t been too bad. Am having the fuzzies in my head, a little dizziness,which just started up this morning and nothing so bad it interfers with my day. I am still on my wellbutrin but will also give that up once i get this other stuff completely outof my system. As with most of you, totally trusted my doc when it came to my depression and how to treat it, which in hindsight may have been caused by the fact I was going through menopause and quit smoking at the same time! Am still smokefree and looking forward to being effexor free as well! Thank you all so much for sharing your stories! It helps so much to know you’re not alone.

September 11, 2009 at 11:58 pm
(372) Tucker says:

I decided to wean myself off effexor and began experiencing the “brain shivers”. I told my doctor about it and she told me my anxiety was returning because I wasn’t taking my medication and I shouldn’t stop taking it! At that point, I decided I would have to withdrawal from the medication without medical help. I found that cardiovascular exercise (treadmill, eliptical, bike, etc.) really helps with the withdrawal side effects, especially in the afternoon/evening, and yoga/pilates really helps for the agitation and frustration I experienced.

September 13, 2009 at 11:20 am
(373) Sandy says:

I went on Venlafaxine for a month and had to come off it because the dizziness was so bad. Since then I have continued to be “dizzy” – to feel like I am drunk all the time. My movememts and speech are slowed down, I feel like it’s difficult to be upright sitting or standing. I still have these symptoms 16mths later. It has been put down to my anxiety but reading these posts I wonder if it may be a result of taking the drug, albeit for such a short period. I would be grateful to hear any similar experiences.

September 14, 2009 at 10:09 am
(374) suzan says:

I am so thankful that I found this blog. I thought I was going crazy until I read everyone elses posts. I was on effexor for 2 years and have been effexor free for 9 days. I probably should have gone through my doctor but I went away with my family and forgot my medication and didn’t think it was going to be a big deal until I started feeling really weird, tired, dizzy,short tempered, I have been screaming at my kids all week over the smallest thing. My bf asked me today if I stopped taking my medication or something and then I realized it might be and read all these posts. I cannot believe that I was not warned about coming off of these pills. Now that I have stopped I definately don’t want to be on them anymore. I was on Zoloft for 2 years before and never had anything like this. Hopefully I feel better soon.

September 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(375) Susan says:

I’m 62, and at various times in my adult life, I’ve been on a variety of anti-depressants, even rivotril, for my anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed at the tender age of 13. I had been on Paxil only since 2000 and was told it would be for a life-time. Just last year, my doctor switched me over to effexor because the paxil just wasn’t cutting it. The effexor hasn’t really been working, because I reached 225 mg/day and didn’t feel any better. I didn’t want the mummy-like, unfeeling life I had with the paxil, but wanted to feel “more normal” (whatever that is!). I decided to wean off this med and, even though the dr. didn’t really want me to, he gave me a ten week course to follow, starting Sept. 2, 2009, reducing by 37.5mg every two weeks. The withdrawals became noticeable on the 9th and, after reading all of these comments, I guess ‘the best is yet to come’. I see we all have similar questions and our expectations aren’t too much to ask for. Are they?

I would like to be drug-free; to determine how I cope/don’t cope with life from day-to-day, given life’s usual stresses. If I cope well, all the better! If I’m not coping very well, I would welcome a diagnosis based on today’s standards and tests, and have input with my dr. as to what can be done, without EVER having to be under the influence of these horrible, mind-altering drugs, EVER again.

Having read your blogs, it looks like some of these withdrawal symptoms could be felt for months, if not years. If this is the case, our life when drug-free could be focused on the struggle of coping with after effects of the meds, never mind with our dpression and anxiety.

If anyone out there has actually been successfaul in coming off this merry-go-round, please give us some encouraging words. More people are finding these blogs every day and, because of the nature of our illness, we need all the positive feedback we can get.

October 1, 2009 at 1:27 am
(376) Mike Lokken says:

The thing that upsets me most about my case of withdrawals is the fact that my doctor put me on Effexor in an attempt to battle my asthma!!! The withdrawal effects are drastically effecting my conscious reactions to my surroundings and general thinking patterns and have stimulated my unconscious mind significantly, but the effects are not any what desireable. Only 8 weeks of perscription on an “asthma experiment” and 2 days of not taking the medicine and my brain brain has gone completely “loopey.” Not to mention a weird turn of events caused me to doubt even being awake for elongated periods of time (two hole days). The negative withdrawal effects of this medicine highly outweigh the positive effects of the drugs itself. Maybe I am hallucinating, but I don’t see the benefeit of this drug. Useless drugs + dependency= money for the Drug Companies.

October 5, 2009 at 12:14 pm
(377) Cindi says:

I have been on effexor xr 300 mg for several years. I went out of town and now have been without the perscription for over a week. When I blink my eyes or turn my head I am overcome with dizziness and hear a womph sound in my ears……….is this the brain freeze?
I started having nightmares ……..dreadful, horrible things.
I have been through a great deal of stress and loss especially over the last year and really can’t deal with the physical withdrawals……….is there anything that will ease these symptoms until I can get home to my doctor?

October 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm
(378) Mary says:

I have been on Effexor for about six years. I am currently prescribed 225mg. I ran out on Oct 1 after missing an appointment. Being the procrastinator that I am, I didn’t call the nurse at my caregiver on Friday and couldn’t on Sat or Sun because they are closed. By Mon I was absolutely miserable. Horrible nightmares, sleeping only an hour at a time, brain zaps, crying jags, nausea, headaches, dizziness … and I was so irritable I’m surprised I wasn’t divorced by spouse and children both.

I called Mon and the message on the machine said I would be contacted within 24 hours. Had to call back today (Wed), only to be told that the caregivers records showed I ran out mid-Sept and that my withdrawals “couldn’t be that bad”. i should mention that I go to a community mental health center with an in-house pharmacy. As I listened to this, I was looking at my empty scrip bottle filled on 8/28 with a one month supply. They couldn’t even be bothered to check with their own pharmacy!

One more night of no sleep and I may have a nervous breakdown. I was so furious with my caregiver that I couldn’t say anything … anything I would have said would surely have sounded like I had gone off the deep end because in this state a sane and rational response is a bit to ask.

I am going to my appt on Friday (unless I just can’t take it anymore and go to the ER) for my refills, and then finding another doctor who will get me off of this stuff.

Oh, and I immediately filed a complaint with the state department of health. Telling someone with a mental health problem who is in crisis that you don’t believe them and essentially don’t care is ridiculous.

October 8, 2009 at 10:15 am
(379) wendy says:

OH My, isn’t withdrawing from these type meds fun, NOT ! I want to share as I have been dealing with ant-depressants for 27 years and have been off and on many, but now we are finding as I read , that withdrawing off any anti-depressant seems to make us worse, Since I have withdrawn them for many many years with no issues, but slight ones until these past 5-10 years, I am thoroughly convinced the drug companies are putting something in them to keep us addicted. Now, remember, I have been dealing with them and psychiatrists, the high priced and excellent ones, and I have NEVEr had withdrawal issues like now, My head gets so hot I have to ice it and my head and ears are so hot I think I am going to go nuts, I can’t go out in the sun AT all or I burn up. My ears and head are VERY hot when I wake up,. I have recently switched from EFfexor XR Sustained release, which worked well and was fine, but I don’t need that 150 any more, I don’t have anxiety nor do I have stress, I have retired, kids are gone etc etc. So I am really ticked when i read here that we may have permanent brain “issues” after using these drugs. ~!!!!!!!!!! I think they are poisoning us with them. Or at the very least causing us to be addicted to them. I would like to hear from any of you who have successfully weaned off Effexor ?? please !!!!!!!!!!!

November 7, 2009 at 6:16 am
(380) Robert says:

Hi all, it is both reassuring and depressing to find that other people are suffering the side effects etc that I am. I also suffer from the brain swooshes that appear on this chat with alarming regularity. I have reduced the dosage to 37.5 daily for the past month. I was on 75 mg of the time release variety. If I forget for one day I immediately suffer from the nausia, brain swooshes and woolly thinking etc which takes longer to go than it did to appear, usually over a couple of days. I am fairly certain that the time release variety of this drug was better as far as side effects are concerned. I desparately want to get off this stuff. Previous to this treatment I was on prozac which had seemed to lose it`s effectiveness. I have suffered from clinical depression for about thirty years and when the Prozac kicked in, it was a total revelation. I think I maybe need to get of this “poison” and give Prozac another go. I suspect after reading all of this thread that the withdrawal symptoms will be very unpleasant. It certainly is effective in reducing depression but it brings with it a lot of side effects. I also get tinnitus which also increases significantly if I miss a day. I have absolutely no interest in sexual activity and the tinnitus has reduced the pleasure I get from music which I used to use as a relaxation therapy before. The subjective pleasure I used to get from music has also more or less gone. Good luck to everyone who is on this crap in getting off it.

November 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm
(381) Sandy says:

As I write this I am suffering major “brain shivers” that have been going on, unbeknownst to me, for 3-4 weeks. I cut my dose of Effexor from 300 to 150 mg because I switched insurance companies, then I had to wait a month and a half before the new insurance company kicked in, then I had to wait another month and a half to get approval from my new insurance company to see my psychiatrist before I could get a new scrip for Effexor. Now the insurance company is telling me I can only have 150 mg, not the 300 mg that I was used to for 2 years. Don’t you just love it when an insurance company can tell you how to treat an illness? Anyway, I am SOOO grateful to have found a web site that explains the “brain shivers” and all of its accompanying symptoms. I just spent most of the day on the couch crying, thinking I was going nuts. Yes, it’s real scary knowing that withdrawal from any medication can do this to you. What’s even scarier to me though, is not having an anti-depressant at all. Because of my mental health history I am also on 2 anti-anxiety drugs, as well as Xanax prn. Believe me when I say I would rather be on an anti-depressant than not.

November 10, 2009 at 8:45 am
(382) Rosemary says:

I am partly relieved after reading that there are many more people out there with the same withdrawel sysmptoms as me when I came off the poison they call effexor. However, along with the dizzyness, nausea, flu symptoms and brain shivers which I was panicking about before reading your letters, I also have another symptom. I have a terrible taste in my mouth and I can even taste it on my lips which have suddenly become quite sore as if I have been exposed to a cold wind. The only way I can describe this taste is that it is how I would imagine a chemical poison would taste, sort of bitter and nasty. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence with the timing as I came off effexor completely 5 days ago. Has anyone else experienced this symptom or should I visit my Doctor to mention it.

November 12, 2009 at 9:51 am
(383) Rhonda says:

11/12/09 – Day 5 effexor free. I have hope that the side affects will decrease. I have never experienced anything like this. I thought I was going crazy. The horrible dreams, the night sweats, crying for no reason, getting frustrated at others for no reason, and the many other issues you all have described have been a horrible experience for me. I pray this will go away quickly.

November 22, 2009 at 7:29 am
(384) Lyn says:

Hi, I have been on Effexor 450mg and Serequell 100 mg for 7 years after car accident. I suffer from PTS, Anxiety and Depression. I have not started to go off medication as I am terrified that I will go back to where I was prior to this medication, suicide and negative thoughts. Recently I have been experiencing all these symtons that you are experiencing while I am not even trying to stop meds and still on them . I have been delaying medical advise as till now I have always been able to cope at work to a high level. When I last spoke to my DR and explained these head zaps, feeling like my head was 5 minutes behind he thought i was crazy that was when he up my meds to 450mg. After reading your comments I am now more terrified that I will loose my job trying to get off this med. I have moved to another state so do not have a current DR to help me through this I know these meds are not working for me no longer but scared to go off Im keep putting off making an appointment family dont understand what I am going through do myou think with the high dosage that I am on I should check myself into some rehab centre Being here I do not even have my special place to go when I am feeling I have had enough so I am wandering, crying to find some place where I can be at peace.help appreciated

November 23, 2009 at 12:04 am
(385) Juanita says:

I stopped taking zoloft in 2005, I was prescribed it for my migrains, I could not afford to keep buying the f’n drug so I would go to a church clinic to get free samples like some drug addicted freak. I finally had to stop all together and it has been HELL eversince. I do not feel confident enough to work or drive or do anything involving the public. I finally went to see a doctor about it and he does not believe in discontinuation syndrome and blamed it on menapause, He asked me if I wanted to to get back on the zoloft, I told him I did not, so he prescribed me celexa instead. I am fine while I take it, but then what? I wish we could start a class action lawsuit against these pharmasutical co. for mis informing us. I would have NEVER taken a drug that has you so screwed up feeling if I would have known what would happen when you stopped gradualy or not.

November 25, 2009 at 4:26 am
(386) Joe says:

I been on SSRI’s and various psychiatric drugs for 17 years of my life. Mostly SSRI’s. I was pumped with drugs since age 17 (brainwashed by psychs). I found out about the fraud of psychiatry 17 years later. I was on 60mg’s paxil and 300mg’s effexor (COMBINED) as well as xanax. I wanted off these drugs because i developed serotonin syndrome. The criminal psychiatrist weaned me off these drugs ALL in 6 short weeks after 17 years of use. I developed the most INTENSE, EXCRUCIATING, head pains that most humans would commit suicide in an instant. I was screaming in PAIN!. I was staring at death in the face and was going to emergency rooms and doctors and they were all telling me it was all in my head that i was (nuts). NOBODY believed the severity of my pain and that i had pain. I was in this agony for 1 full year (i don’t know how i survived 1 year in such agonizing pain, it was the love for my family that kept me alive). After 1 year, i was given an Opiod called Hydromorphone which immediately calmed my pain and i could breathe again. I went on my knees and cried and thanked Lord Jesus. SSRI/SNRI withdrawal that has caused me intense head pains has now given me CHRONIC PERMANENT CENTRAL PAIN SYNDROME and i have to take OPIODS for the rest of my life because my CNS is damaged. Now in my closing argument i want to say that PSYCHIATRY and PSYCHIATRISTS are the most DANGEROUS, MOST BRUTAL subhumans one could ever encounter. Psychiatry destroyed my life, and the lives of MILLIONS. It is up to US to help stop this DANGEROUS PSEUDOSCIENCE CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION that masquarades as MEDICINE before they kill, cripple, and maim other innocent human beings. This is my story of SSRI/SNRI withdrawal. Now i have PERMANENT CENTRAL PAIN in my HEAD and have to be on OPIODS for the rest of my life thanks to criminal psychiatrists. Those who enjoy these drugs, love psychiatry, support psychiatry. Stay away from me, my family, and the innocents who don’t know what psychiatry and psychiatric drugs are. Those who fight to abolish psychiatry i applaud and support you. Those who give it power, i will do everything in my power with antipsychiatry groups and orgs to counterattack and have psychiatry totally eliminated in the next 50 years. The GOVERNMENT KNOWS PSYCHIATRY is the KILLING MACHINE of POPULATION CONTROL.

December 3, 2009 at 1:34 am
(387) I died in hell, the doctor called it venlafaxine says:

I was put on venlafaxine jul 07 whilst signed off with stress from work, this was the doctors answer to a bad withdrawal reaction to citalopram that he’d had me on for the previous 2 months and only gave me suicidal thoughts(thats the only time in life Ive had these, expressed major concerns about its safety to the prick er sorry doctor,evasive with answers, I was working in healthcare at the time but had never heard of this stuff, but was well aware of some of the types of problems people have with them hence my reluctance to use them, anyway made the mistake of taking it, the guy was threatening to section me if I didnt, threatening to section me for what I now know was massive mood swings that were a withdrawal reaction to citalopram. Took the stuff for a year and in short it has destroyed me. Ended up cold turkeying off 150mg, had been on 225, as after 7 weeks tapering it became clear to me that the only way to get off it was the old fashioned hard man way. Followed by horrifc withdrawal and insomnia that has never left since stopping it 17 months ago. Lost best job ever had in my life due to this stuff and still cant work due to sleeping problem. Its pretty specific I dont sleep during darkness anymore, only daylight. It the worst its ever been at present and thats 17 months after stopping it. The angry head has been gone 4/5 months now and id say my overall mental state is back to where it was, but sleep, only during daylight, what the fuck is that all about, and in scotland in December you don’t get much of that.

Heres something to think about, Im a recovering alcoholic and yes Ive stayed sober through what has been the worst period of my life, and yes youve guessed correclty venlafaxine of which I was on for a year has done more damage to my life that 10 yrs chronic alcoholism did and drink took me to some pretty bad places. I had no problems with depression since quitting drinking, 96 which should not susprise any doctor, but the doctor I got seamed to think the answer to someone with stress issues due to having their workload doubled overnight was anti depressants, the issue I had in my job were not illnesses or the result of a luck of some neurotransmitter, I was working in a field that is notorious for burning people out with stress. Personally I’m now of the view that half the problem with anti depressants is that doctors havent suffered enough for what theyve been giving out to others. The previous post highlighted important stuff and it is quite Orwellian, it goes like this ‘drugs form a doctor good, drugs from a drug dealer bad’ or alternatively ‘alcohol and tobacco bad, drugs from a doctor good’

I am very clear now in my own head that part of the problem here is the the ‘Dealers’ in this case arent suffering for what they have been inflicting on others, certainly that was the case with the glorified ‘drug ‘dealer’ that i was dealing with. I see no difference from the way that my now former doctor behaved towards me than the way a heroin dealer behaves, apart from the obvious legal difference. My x doctor refused to take me off it on the grounds that I needed to be on an anti depressant for the rest of my life even though it was clear that the stuff was doing more harm than good to me. Also he’s the only doctor Ive ever dealt with who has ever thought I needed anti depressants, but he wasnt paying for the drugs, it was someone else that was paying for them(the taxpayer in my country)and he is not having to live with the ruined life as a consequence of his actions. If he had to actually pay himself for what he was prescribing me(and remember I raised serious concerns about its safety with him beforehand)and had to face the consequences of his actions, say he pays me my usually monthly salary until I’m fit to return to work, I think he would have been behaving rather differently towards me.

Our politicians are right we need a war on drugs, but what they have to realise is we need a new war, a war on medical drugs, remmember the chant from Orwell’s classic ‘Doctors Farm’ ‘Drugs from a doctor good, drugs from a drug dealer bad’ as all the animals lay doped out their faces in the straw whilst the doctors sat in the farm house drinking the best of whisky and having a rare old time.

Hey man take the venlafaxine it will make you feel good, dont worry you’ll no get addicted, trust me I’m a doctor(trumped up fucking drug dealers)

December 8, 2009 at 3:40 am
(388) Laurie says:

Robert….I totally agree with everything you said…my situation is VERY similar including the Prozac wearing off. I have a few other issues I need to take care of before I start weaning off Effexor. I figure it’s going to take all my effort to deal with the withdrawal. I will not be doing this without my doctors help and I would be grateful if you could you please post your progress? I was thinking of using the Prozac as I withdraw from the Effexor at least to take care of some of the depression.
I could write paragraphs about taking this medication but am in a hurry at the moment but I felt compelled to acknowledge your post. Take care.

December 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm
(389) Carolyn says:

I have been taking effexor xr (no caps, not worthy of it) since 2000 for anxiety and depression, mainly depression. And, yes, it did help with the depression. (However, good ol self-help reading material, faith in God that any situation will work itself out, my favorite and signature badge of coping in the entire serenity prayer I wear inscribed on a bracelet around my wrist, and hope ’cause there are never any guarantees in life) Well, this is the second time I’m attempting to come off of this touted wonder drug which is really a curse. I believe I know some of what an addict goes through weaning off the hard stuff. My dosage had gradually increased from 37.5 daily to 150 mg. daily. Missing a dose would send me into a tail spin. This second attempt to gain release from the hold it has on me has resulted in getting down to 75 mg. every other day. I chart the time and day the dosage is taken and try like hell to get an hour or more over the next time before I take another dose. I’m taking the suggestion of counting out the little “beads” in the capsules and extending the dosage times this way. To help with the sensations, oh yes, brain zaps, heat flashes, fuzzy thinging, disturbing dreams, irratibilty, you all know the list, I’ve taken to finding as much relaxation ways as possible, i.e. nature cd’s, walking out doors, limiting stress and emotional encounters, you name it, almost isolation, but still managing to hold a job and maintain friend and family connections. I believe we can lick this thing, just taking one day at time. We just have to really concentrate on taking care of our selves and, God help us, limiting as much stress and demand upon as possible until the brain fog dissipates, and we can function at full level. We didn’t get to where we are quickly, so we won’t get off this crap quickly. Yes, I do think there should be a class act lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies and physicians who peddle this crap. Anyone have any info on this? I am keeping all of us in my prayers. Don’t give up, and put the word out to help others from falling in this wicked snare.

December 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm
(390) Timmo Logi says:

Effexor is the pits. It never helped me with my depression. When I got off it (Thank God) it
was pretty bad. I’m over my depression now.
I took up running, activities, talking with friends,
and thought changing.

What’s worse is that antipressants were unmasked
by the New England Journal of Medicine as nothing more than expensive placebos with awful side effects. Apparently many pharmaceutical companies
altered the research to appear positive and did not
take into account negative research. Basically
depressed consumers got hoodwinked. I went through hell getting off Effexor. The FDA fined a bunch of the pharmaceutical companies for billions. For me antidepressants are the biggest con job going.
Here’s the whistle blowing article in the New England Journal of medicine.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/358/3/252.pdf

The whistle blown on Neurontin:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33867108/ns/health-more_health_news/

Here’s some drug free tips for getting out of depression which have been backed by peer reviewed
research.
http://www.emoclear.com/depression.htm

Here’s an excerpt from David Burns, MD’s book “When Panic Attacks”. Go to Chapter 4: “Placebo Nation” where antidepressant drugs are viewed as placebos.
http://books.google.com/books?id=CdZIn4b9s4UC&dq=%22David+Burns%22+antidepressants&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=c7WlqTfFnd&sig=z73fmL4rzr_sfs7Hbjcq-79pDsc&hl=en&ei=qF0XS6yUM8OWtgeSlOTsAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Read the introduction to James S. Gordon, MD’s “Unstuck” found at Google books. It’s called: “Is There Some Other Way?” and starts on page 1. A few pages are missing, but you can get a good idea about antidepressant meds, their side effects and their performance which is about up to placebo.
http://books.google.com/books?id=x9R-Xbb7ag8C&dq=%22James+Gordon%22+unstuck&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=0lhYnkhS6K&sig=S364qfuac5_vLrw2oE3p1C_zzYE&hl=en&ei=C2QXS8v5E4iVtgfN-rjXAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=&f=false

December 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm
(391) Stephenie says:

I have recently been tapering off of Effexor XR. This has been absolutely the worst experiance that I have ever been through. I cant get out of bed. I feel like I have the flu. I am so dizzy that its making me nauscious to the point of vomiting. I am SO MAD at my doctor for giving me this drug. All it was for was post-partum depression. I should never have been givin this potent of an antidepressant. GRRRR

December 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm
(392) Fab says:

Hi all, I took effexor for almost 3 years and must say it worked a treat for me, I had a lot of control over my emotions and slept well and did not gain any weight. A few months ago i started to feel that the “depression” that i was previously diagnosed with is no longer as my life changed and improved quite a bit.Stopped Effexor 4 weeks ago and the physical symptoms were pretty much nonexistent but THE EMOTIONAL toll is huge and it makes me go back and forth thinking if i should go back to it. There are a lot ot issues around me at the moment that can contribute to this emotional rollercoaster but at times is unbearable and i wonder if someone out there can tell me how long this emotional crazyness lasts…4 weeks is a victory and i don’t want to go back but i’m scared to lose everyone in my life…

December 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm
(393) Maria says:

I’m currently on Lamictal, Effexor and Prozac. I weigh 25+ pounds under what I should as a 20 year old and deal with dizziness on a daily basis. I recently had Mono but I didn’t notice because of how used to the side effects I have become. Effexor = 6+ years and Prozac = 2+. The Effexor definitely causes severe side effects – I’ve even passed out from missing a dose. Thing is, it’s one of the only medications that has ever helped my depression. I’ve been through nearly every medication in the past 11 years used to treat depression/anxiety. The brain shivers? I never realized they were exclusive to me until I found this post. My eyes feel like they go back and forth quickly sometimes and I get weird out of my head feelings. I jerk constantly and randomly.

I was put on an adult dosage at 9 years old of Zoloft – I almost died from that withdrawl and it permanently messed me up. I put up a “mental block” as I have been told by doctors because that was such a traumatic experience, but I still recognize some of the feelings I had with those of not taking my Effexor.

December 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm
(394) Di Baldwin says:

I was on effexor for about 9 years after the birth of my frist son, I only ever went of twice when I was pregnant with my other two sons but when straight back on after their births.

The drug really did help me throught postnatel depression and then my ex leaving but after all those years i decided it was time to get off for good as I felt the drug cause me to put on heaps of weight (No amount of exercise/health diet seem to get rid of the weight.), no sex drive, had no enthusiasm to do anything and felt emotionly unavailable(dead inside).
A week before christmas this year I decided to go cold turkey the worst day was day 3 when I spend the whole day throwing up but from day 2 I have suffer the dreaded brain shivers but with each day they have settled down but they are still there. I find if i do my daily exercise I can keep them under control to a dull roar.
I am now on day 12 and I feel on top of the world and my friend say the old me is back the girl who enjoys getting out and having fun and enjoy what life hands to her.
The reason I did cold turkey as i felt it would be quicker to get over the symptoms instead of prolong them over weeks with weaning off. I dont recommend cold turkey to all as it can be a bit overwelming but if you choose this avenue just be strong as you can do it.
There is another up side to me go cold turkey as I have been smoke free for 12 days and I dont have a craving at all.
Good luck to all that are dealing with the withdrawel it’s hard but it worth when you get your life back.

December 31, 2009 at 5:52 pm
(395) Laura says:

I’ve read almost all the comments here.

Has anyone who found that effexor really worked for them got off of it and done okay?

I’ve struggled with depression, sometimes pretty severe, all of my life. I’ve been prescribed many meds, including lithium, Zanax and all the SSRI’s I can think of. None of them had any effect. I am a recovering drug addict (ended up addicted to heroin) and alcoholic; clean & sober almost 22 years.

Over all the years, I have learned many ways to deal with myself and my depression without medication, since they didn’t ever work anyway. About 18 months ago, situations in my life finally combined with my inherent depression and anxiety tendencies (and, menopause symptoms starting) and I needed help. My doctor prescribed effexor and IT WORKED.

Life has settled down, and I would prefer to be medication free. I accidentally didn’t take a pill for the first time this week and I thought I was going to need to be admitted into a loony bin, AND that I was having liver failure (the itching and sickness reminded me of when I was very sick with hepatitis, and I still have chronic hep C). Oh My GOD. After just about losing it (my mind, and what was in my stomach) a few times I remembered that I had gone more than 24 hours without the drug, and found this board via Google.

I think I can deal with any amount of physical discomfort, and I believe that it will pass. What I’m afraid of is the emotional aspect. I can’t believe that such intense mood swings and “tenderness” (for want of a better word) could fail to hurl me into the pit of darkness again.

If I am going to be off of meds and handling myself properly, I think I would need to start from a good place, not an emotional maelstrom. I can’t use any alcohol or pot smoking to ease it.

Now I’m terrified.

December 31, 2009 at 6:09 pm
(396) Steve R says:

I was on effexor for about 4 years @ 225mg. I wanted to be off of it and my doctor titrated me off the high dose (down to 150, then 75 then finally to 37.5mg). I relocated and decided to quit the medication. About 24hrs after quitting the low dose the dizziness started. I took one 37.5mg capsule and the dizziness soon stopped. I decided to stretch out the daily dose to every 2 days. I’ve been completely off this dose for 4 days now. My mouth tastes metallic and the dizziness is there, especially if I move my eyes from side to side.
Thank goodness I found this site. Everyones comments are great and it’s very comforting that I’m not alone. I think I will try the detox natural therapies. I’ve been drinking lots of water and green tea hoping to flush this crap out of my system (pun intended).
Good luck to us all in 2010.

January 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm
(397) tippycat says:

I weaned myself off of Lexapro over a month ago and felt fine for the first week or so. I just had the minor brain zaps. Well, two weeks off the drug I went into SSRI Discontinucation Syndrome—was bedridden for weeks–nausea,dizzy,pounding heart beat,up and down bloodpressure,horrible roaring ringing in the ears,manic, panic attacks, insomnia,etc. But each day–when you get through I guess and hope is the worst–seems to get better. Whatever better means, I still have some trouble sleeping–have these sudden muscle zap pains but I am back up doing things like before. I am angry my doctor did not explain any of this to me. There has to be a better way to deal with Panic/Anxiety Disorder. My brother went off his Lexapro after having seizures after having a few beers at a baseball game–forget these drugs he said and he is right. I was pro–SSRI annd I am not pro anymore. Life is too short and not worth losing due to being poisoned.

January 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm
(398) Sony says:

Very grateful to all the comments here. My husband is not even able to sit up so I read these to him. He is on day six after going cold turkey. He has the brain shivers, uncontrolable sobbing, electric zaps… really all of the symptoms. His dr prescribed after a panic attack almost eleven years ago. Every time he asked to be taken off the dr’s questioned his reasoning and talked him out of it.

He’s much relieved to know what is in store. Thanks.

January 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm
(399) Steve R says:

Started the Mg/Vitamin C & Omega 3 trial today. Luckily, the drugstore had a sale on them so all together it cost me about $10 for 100 tabs of each. I figure if I take 1 of each, BID for the next 50 days, it should get me through this (along with a good diet regime). If I still have these brain farts after then, the withdrawl is more serious than I thought.

January 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm
(400) Suzanne A. Grubaugh says:

Brain shivers, for me, consist of a sudden “wham!” feeling inside my head and a kind of “jerking” feeling as if my brain realized a little too late that my head had stopped moving a micro-second earlier.

January 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm
(401) Steve R says:

So it’s been 5 days since I began my self-treatment of 500mg Mg plus 500mg Vit C and I must say the brain zaps have diminished somewhat (75% less than my last post). I can now move my eyes from side to side with minimum zzzittss.
I don’t know whether it’s from the remedy or a placebo effect. I don’t really care so long as the symptoms disappear altogether.

January 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm
(402) Lisa says:

I had all the side effects mentioned here when I went off Effexor about 3 years ago. The good news? It goes away. It really does. For me it took about 3 weeks to be completely gone. But it affected me so greatly that I still remember it like it was yesterday. I thought it would never end, but it did. Hang in there1

January 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm
(403) Steve R says:

Today I realized the brain zaps are gone. It’s been about 3 weeks since I sent off effexor and about 2 weeks on my regime of Mg/VitC/Omega 3. I am so happy and relieved. I honestly thought the brain zaps wouldn’t stop but they did. Thank you to the poster that suggested the herbal treatment. In fact, I recently lost my job and do not need the evil drug to manage the stress/anxiety.
Good luck to all. You will get through it and there is life after getting off it.

January 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm
(404) Tal says:

Laura,

Like you I have been dealing with depression all my life. I’ve never really found the tricks to handle them, besides for the periods that the drugs actually do work and besides doing some physical exercise at times. I am curious to learn about your ways of dealing with depression. You might be doing a great service for me. Can you please write to: depressed_dude@live.com

Regarding SSRI withdrawal – I’ve stopped taking 60mg Cymbalta about a week ago. I have all the usual sides effects – especially the “brain zaps/shivers”. I’m having a hard time functioning at work. Does anyone know the average withdrawal time? When should i expect to get rid of these horrible symptoms?

Thank you all for the information you share. God bless you.

January 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm
(405) Deb says:

I have been taking effexor xr for five years now, originally prescribed for PND. Starting at 150mg/d continuing throughout the pregnancy of my 2nd child (which I am now horrified about) my GP thought the risk of remaining on XR when pregnants was better than the effects of withdrawel throughout pregnancy. Anyway when my 2nd baby was 6 months old the dreaded dark place that is PND returned. My dose was increased to 300mg/d, I am now weaning off under the supervision of my GP, I think I am experiencing every withdrawel possible, however, I am staying strong and determined to get of this awful drug.

February 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm
(406) CLS says:

Oh my goodness, this is crazy. I was just looking for meds for my dog and came across this artical/blog. I have been on effexor for 18 years ,yes 18 years. I was taking 300 mg a day up until 3 weeks ago, I am now down to 75mg a day, I am going through all that all of you are, I am very worried because I am doing this without my docs ok, and I do not have the 35.7s . 18 years on this med, I have gained 100 pounds and could eat chocolate all day everyday. i just feel like Im going to loose it, I try to stay busy and that helps. Please anyone that has made it over thirty days and can give some of us the that they are feeling now please let us know.

February 1, 2010 at 11:43 pm
(407) Chris says:

I have been on Effexor for ~10 years. After reading the long list of possible long term side effects, I decided to wean myself off the drug without my doctor’s knowledge. Even though I’m doing everything correctly, I still experience the crying out of nowhere, the brain zaps, dizziness, shakiness/tremors and overall flu-like symptoms. I’m also addicted to Xanax but will have to go for an in-hospital stay to taper off of that one. It’s just too dangerous to do outside of a hospital setting. Four different doctors have tried to help me do it “outside”, all unsuccessfully. Once I’m off these drugs, I will NEVER take another SSRI or anti-anxiety drug in my life. I feel worse now than I did before taking my very first doses.

February 8, 2010 at 2:01 pm
(408) tricia says:

i have been through withdrawal from oxycontin ( drug abuse – high doses ) and those brain zzzzts occur also with that. i am beginning to believe or wonder if all drug withdrawal causes that … i was hospitalized and put on iv valium for a short while and then clonidine for a couple of months with gradual weaning off – the clonidine worked wonders for withdrawal – possible help for effexor as well ?? i would like to try because i am on 300 mg of effexor and i can’t feel anything – my emotions are dead – when i want to cry – i can’t – and even with a new man in my life, i cannot reach orgasm – life is not fun anymore … anyone else have any suggestions ?? comments ?? thanks.

February 15, 2010 at 1:15 am
(409) cate says:

Withdrew from Effexior slowly about 3 weeks ago. I had been on it for almost 4 yrs. Have suffered from brain zaps, the runs, nightmares, panic attacks (which I never had before taking Effexior.) Loved someone’s comment about crying at an envelope. That’s been me. So glad to find this forum – thought something else was wrong with me and that I was really losing it. I also gained a lot of weight on this but now have started exercising which helps me a lot. Brain zaps are awful. Seem to be slowing down and I think I’ll try the Vit. C. route too.

February 24, 2010 at 10:26 am
(410) Grace says:

I was on Effexor xr for 3-4 years I think? I was on 150mg. Cut the dose in half for a couple of weeks and then started dumping 1/2 of those granules. Did that for a few days and then just stopped. It’s been a week and my brain is still having a hard time keeping up with my eyes, but I’mm feeling good about getting off of it. Hadn’t realy thought about it until my sister came off Paxil-she went cold turkey -not something I’d recommend.
Anyway-I have gained about 40 pounds since going on SSRI’s, and have not been able to lose even 1 pound. Diet change, exercise, etc. It’s only been a week, and I already feel things changing for the better. I’m less bloated, and just feel like I weigh less. I don’t want to step on a scale yet cuz that usually ruins my good feeling.
Just thought I’d thank all these people for sharing. It truly is good to know that I’m not alone. I did read somewhere that SSRI’s change the way your body metabolizes carbs-so that would explain it. I’ll have to let you know in a month or so how the whole weight thing is going. How cool would that be to just lose weight from coming off meds? Who knows-maybe I’ll even start exercising again……..

February 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm
(411) Erin says:

I was prescribed Effexor XR 150 mg from my college health clinic in 2004 by a nurse. Biggest mistake of my life. After a trial pack of two weeks, I was hooked. I could not miss one day’s dose without severe head pain, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and shakiness. I thought I was dying everytime i accidentally missed a dose or titrated down.

In 2009, my psychiatrist switched me to regular effexor 150 mg, and we have slowly titrated down. I am currently at 25 mg of effexor. It was easier to come down this way. He prescribed Celexa 40 mg to compensate or the SSRi reduction and allegedly, coming off celexa is way easier if need be. I am also taking a Vitamin B+ complex this time around in addition to adderall. I have found I am able to stick it out during the withdrawl with the combo of Adderall, which allows me to get the energy to get out of bed, celexa in the AM, and Im not sure if the vitamin B is helping, but this is the first time since 2004 I have made it this far with getting off this horrible drug.

Does anyone know about any legal action that can be taken? I have missed work, experienced horrible withdrawl symptoms, lost time and money to this drug basically. I want to get off and I am slowly making progress, but this is not right. I didn’t know about how toxic this drug could be! What can be done? I am willing to fight like hell after what I have been through.

February 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm
(412) Dude says:

Same boat here too. I was researching St. John’s Wort and came across this forum. I think it helps all of us to know that we are not alone. There are millions of us. The electric impulses through the body are so annoying. Suesan….You described it perfect. What’s funny is we all know what’s going on here, but I bet if a very high percentage of us tells our Dr’s this stuff they just snicker under thier breath. It should be mandatory for all Dr’s to withdraw from Opiates and SSRI”s before they can earn their degree. Speaking of opiates..(not to make light of SSRI withdraw at all) but to make you feel better and aware….Opiate withdraw makes SSRI withdraw a walk in the park. Because of a bad back, I got Oxy’s easy, but because of my depression I abused them badly. Didn’t know it at the time. I was up to 1200mg of Oxycodone a day. Yes, you read it right. 1200mg / day. Anyway…….Hang in there friends. If anyone knows about St. John’s Wort, Let us know. And we all know what’s happening while on or withdrawing SSRI”s, but to who ever got off this stuff and stayed off, let us know how you did it and how long it took. I gained 40lbs from these pills and no matter how hard I work out, I can’t drop a pound. So of course that is depressing too. So I quit Celexa cold turkey almost 2 weeks ago and started losing weight fast. But as my kids are playing here in front of me, every obnoxious sound they make is already driving me crazy. I’m ready to blow at the drop of a hat. But I hold it back knowng it’s the drugs. I feel I’m a better dad on SSRI”s but I’m also miserable on them in other ways. No desire or ambition. Tired. Fat. I’m just not the go getter anymore. I also know in a few months I’m going to be very sad and start seeing everything in negative ways again. So deal with it OR be a fat ass???? What a circle we are in! What’s the answer???

February 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm
(413) Grace says:

Wow. I don’t have the answer to how to deal with the depression, but I know this is not it. (Being on the SSRI’s). There is something to exercising, and tapping into the endorphins. (I’m still working on gettin rid of the brain-sight thing.) I’m still OFF (at best), but I think I am getting there. There’s been no weight loss, but I feel better physically.
I can get ticked in a heartbeat and want to kill everything in my sight, but I know that too will pass.
I just want to get to a point where I feel that I am OK-that I am not going to die today, and neither are my children.
So, the saga continues. Life goes on. It’s gota get better, RIGHT?

March 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm
(414) Janet says:

Hang in there guys, within 2 weeks the worst is over. I think I’ve been off Paxil about 7 weeks now? Got my old temper back, not such a bad thing to feel real again. Every day I feel clearer, thinking better and more rationally. I have more energy now and I’m looking forward to doing the things I used to enjoy but let go of. Oddly enough I have less panic attacks now, still have my xanys to fall back on if need be but have been going out in public without them. And sleeping so much better now ! It gets better everyday, so nice to be back in the real world.

March 4, 2010 at 10:03 am
(415) Dude says:

Well just a quick update. Been off ssri’s a little over 3 weeks now. Finally zaps pretty much gone. Every once in a while it feels like someone hit the back of my head with an open ended extension cord. Been takin 5-HTP. It really seems to help. I’m surprised. There is a difference after you take it. Haven’t tried St Johns Wort yet. I’m still losing weight slowly. My metabolism seems to be slowly returning. I am however very negative and have to try and not complain all the time. As of now it is worth it being that’s the only problem. The last 3 weeks seem like 3 yrs. I think maybe we expect too much too soon. Hope this helps someone. Later

March 7, 2010 at 10:57 pm
(416) Ken says:

Okay so I just stopped taking effexor on thursday, it is now sunday. I was prescribed it during my second tour of duty in iraq for anxiety/PTSD. I had no idea about these “brain shivers”, and finally put two and two together that it was likely related to missing a dose or two of this drug after several occurances of what i called “quick lapses of reality”. I went to the army docs there in iraq, and they told me it was likely heat related prior to me figuring out it was related to the drug.

I am all disoriented now that I’m trying to get off this drug, and just earlier today went to google and typed “effexor withdrawl” to which all these pages, including this one popped up with many accounts similar to what I am currently experiancing. You could say I was already a bit upset with the US Army when they decided that a ruptured eardrum, and a heart condition known as pericarditous was not sufficiant enough to get me out of that s*it hole country, when i had a pregnant wife back home who didnt have her husband there for the birth of their first child.

Now I find that they just prescribed me a bogus ass drug which is causing me to think im having seizures or something to get off of. But I’m the bad guy for not re-enlisting a second time right uncle sam? Shame on me.

March 10, 2010 at 10:57 am
(417) Dude says:

Hang in there Ken. You’re going thru alot. And these drugs keep you from knowing reality and who you really are. As for an update to who ever cares…My withdraw is almost completely gone. However my metabolism is shot. Since my last post, I have not lost a pound. I did lose at first, but hit a wall. With a healthy 1000 calorie diet, balanced with whey protein, exercising and lots of walking and running I have not lost another pound. It is so weird because I have never got in shape without losing weight. I can now run a couple miles and my man boobs just bonce along with me. How long does it take for your metabolism to get back to normal if ever??? Oh and 5-HTP and fish oil is really helping. I only kick the dog once a week now!

March 10, 2010 at 11:57 pm
(418) Maury says:

Wow, I’m glad I found this site. I was diagnosed with depression last summer, tried a couple different AD’s and stopped because they just didn’t make any difference. Life has still been a struggle (job/marriage) so I thought I’d try another. Guess what. Effexor XR. I was on it the customary 6-8 weeks, then I started to gain some insight and made some life changes, which is a step in the right directions for me. As my therapist and Dr have said, since I never struggled with depression before some of these “life” draining events, it makes sense – if the Effexor is really not contributing to my well being (i couldn’t tell physically/emotionally), I should be OK to stop. Wow. Unlike the other two I tried, this stuff is wicked. I did the std 7 day weening from 75 to 37mg and then stopped. Last 1/2 dose was 3 days ago and I’ve had several of the symptoms mentioned above. Brain buzzing, temp swings, sweating, sleep issues (and I take Lunesta on a regular basis). I’ve started to be active again and am still moving in the right direction with life changes, but man, I hope the side effects of withdrawal go away.

GL to all!

March 12, 2010 at 7:02 am
(419) Karen says:

Oh my gosh you guys. I am so thankful for every post on here. I have been encouraged and have had the hell scared out of me. I have taken effexor for apprx 10 years. I was in a bad marriage & probably was depressed. I trusted my FNP because she told me she had taken ADs. I do not believe she knew about the horrendous withdrawals. So I do not blame her. I had noticed through the years that if I missed a single dose of 75mg that I would be moody; putting in mildly. But in Jan of this year I had a change over in my insurance & there was a delay in getting the med to me. I missed 2 days. On the 3rd day I was in my doctors office crying & in general feeling pretty much out of control. I wanted to kill people. At that point I decided I had to get off this poison. On Feb 4th I began a taper of effexor xr 75mg alternating with 37.5 for 7 days. Then I went to 37.5 for 9 days. My main symptom is hostility but I was feeling pretty good so I began taking the 37.5 every other day for 8 days. On that day, Feb 24th I saw my FNP & she agreed to give me 37.5 tablets that I could cut in half. Then plan was to take half a tab(18.75) twice a day for a week. And then wean down to once a day from there. But I felt ok with taking one half tablet in the morning and did fine with that for 12 days. I do have insomnia so was up all Sun night & slept all Mon so I missed a dose. I had planned to cut that 1/2 tab (18.75mg) into a 1/4 dose of 9.37 but due to my irregular sleep I missed 2 doses so I thought what the heck I will just stay off. So I have been poison free for 4 days now. Overall I have been blessed to not have the severe withdrawals that so many people have experienced. btw- I have taken the occasional xanax 0.5mg to keep the hostility under control. But today, my 4th day, I was a raging lunatic. My husband says the last month has been hell for him. I thought it was going well. So tonight, if 4am is night, all I can do is cry. I do not want to go take as little as that 1/4 of a tab but I know if I do that all the negative feelings in me will slide away. But I want off this poison so I am not giving in. I just hope these horrible withdrawals do not cause a divorce. I do experience jitteriness, sweating & quick to anger. Is this really me or is it the withdrawal? Maybe I tapered to quickly? On the up side, I am also diabetic & I have seen my blood sugars begin to normalize with my morning sugars being under 100 which is great. Now, if I could just loose the 25 or so pounds that I have gained. One last thing, has anyone experience a tightness in there jaw? Sometimes it’s tight enough I need to make it pop & I feel like I can’t talk. I have had slurred speech at times, uncoordination & fuzzy brain. God bless us all on this journey & see us safely through to the other side!

March 12, 2010 at 11:21 am
(420) Kay says:

I’ve been on effexor about 5 years for depression associated with menopause. I’ve only taken a 37.5 dose. It worked great for me and I stopped crying at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately it started effecting my ability to have an orgasam and I started to have a racing heart at night and unable to sleep. My doc just perscriped wellbutin and I stopped taking my effexor. I’ve been sick for 3 days and went on line because I thought it was the welbrutin but now realize I’m suffering from effexor withdrawl. Funny that this wasn’t mentioned by my doc. I took an effexor this morning after realizing that I couldn’t go cold turkey and 5 minutes later started vomitting. Not sure what to do next.

March 20, 2010 at 9:05 am
(421) vickie says:

I have been on effexor for several year. I decided to get off because the problems that attributed to my depression ect. no longer existed, or at least had become almost non existance. I was told to to reduce my dosage by 75 every 2 weeks. I went from 300 to 225 to 150 to 75. I started having the brain shocks. I was depressed,crying,and just generally not feeling well, after 1 day of 0, I went back to 75. I was so glad? to hear that I was not crazy or alone in my symptoms of withdrawal. Today I woke up with, what looks like the mumps. My neck,face,is swollen. I called a nurse associated with my insurance co., and she said take something over counter for pain. I don’t know if this is from effexor or something else. Has anyone else had this happen to them? I wish I knew more about effexor before I started taking it, because I wouldn’t have.

March 21, 2010 at 10:14 am
(422) vonnie says:

I am so glad I found this site. I just quit taking Effexor about a week ago and I have never felt so sick. I quit taking it because of extreme nausea. Now I am in a constant state of an upset stomach with my head feeling like it is floating whenever I move. I feel very weak and have no motivation. My relationships are suffering and I feel suicidal. I have an appointment with my General Practitioner tomorrow. I will definitely bring this up with her. I took antidepressants to get through my divorce…I will never, ever take them again!

March 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm
(423) Francine says:

So glad I found these comments. I am french, so maybe not expressing myself well all the time. I stopped taking Effexor for depression on Feb. 14th after being 3 yrs on it, took me 6 months to go from 150 mg. to 0. So sick that I think I might have the Parkinson disease, seeing my doctor about it tomorrow, March 22th, not so sure its Parkinson now after reading all your comments.

Tremors, itching all over, especially extremities like my feets which feel like burning at times, difficulty to sign my name, feeling dead emotionally, I lost my mom last June and practically didnt cry (not like me at all), I was hurting so much but couldnt let go and sob, I felt so bad, panick attacks, shaking inside, terrible insomnia and nightmares, difficulty to get out of bed in the morning, a total change of personality, Me, who was so much into having my home clean, I couldnt careless, even had to motivate myself to take a shower or bath….

Now that I’m off Effexor, I feel that I’m becoming myself again, I CARE again, but the withdrawal side effects are terrible 2, however, never as bad as how I felt while on Effexor. Take care ppl and continue the motivation to get off these drugs!

March 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm
(424) Kim says:

I started on the 5 HTP today (I’m 72+ hours cold turkey) and have been taking Omega 3′s every 4 hours or so for the last 48 hours. Clinical nutritionist also has me taking Rhodiola (herb). Same withdrawal symptoms as everyone else. For me, the brain zaps are the worst. And today I have the shakes. I feel like I look like a junkie because I walk carefully and shake a lot.

Dude – thanks for the update on your progress. It’s good to hear. Seriously. This sucks and I appreciated the chuckle about your bouncing man boobs and only kicking the dog once a week.

Karen – I am also a diabetic and have found my blood sugars have stabilized as well. Odd. Did you know that one of the side affects of effexor is to crave carbs and sweets? I’ll be so happy if my cravings drop.

March 30, 2010 at 4:40 am
(425) Nat says:

I had been on Zoloft for about 7years, and then i was wondering if there was anything better out there. My mom and brother are taking Effexor and seemed to get benefits, so i thought i would try it. It has been about 5-6 months on effexor. I got up to 300mg – 3 months ago i dropped back down to 150 mg. I think i experienced some aches and pains, but then it went. A few days ago i reduced again to 75mg, Oh the aches and pains, i feel like i have the flu. I feel tired too. I dont think it has made a difference to anxiety or depression, but more teh physical effects. How long will this go on for? i plan go down half again after a month.

April 3, 2010 at 3:38 am
(426) 313 says:

has anyone had success wtih alternative medicine for withdrawal? I have received samples for the last year for my rx (layed off last year in MI) and they are out. I cannot taper but am willing to try anything alternative….please give your comments

April 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm
(427) kim says:

313 – go to your local natural store. Get 5HTP (5 hydroxy-tryptophan), Omega 3 Fish Oils and Rhodiola. I started on the fish oils because of a suggestion on another site, they helped me a bunch with the “brain zaps”. I was taking several of them a day so my stomach didn’t appreciate it, but it helped me get through those. A clinical nutritionist advised me to take 2-3 5HTP before bed, and another 1 or 2 in the morning, plus 1 Rhodiola in the morning, and 1 mid-afternoon. I am 2 weeks off effexor and done with the physical side effects. The emotions are still coming and going, but I notice are much more apparent if I skip the 5HTP anD Rhodiola.

April 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(428) kim says:

I too am 5 days into effexor withdrawal! I too think the second and third day are from hell. In my experiences I have nausea, dizziness, drunk feeling, hearing scratches in my head etc..etc… I think they are prescribing this drug WAY to loosely (goes with any antidepressant) the majority of doctors just listen to your thoughts for 10 minutes and write up a prescription. I was on paxil for 2 years and it did really make a difference and had no side effects. I went in to the doctor actually wanting to discuss taking myself off them and mentioned I was having increased anxiety/panic now and then. The doc wrote a prescription for effexor so I went with it.
gee… am I just gullible, I mean it couldn’t be the weight gain/job loss/financial issues and now lack of self confidence.. blah…blah…blah … that stresses me and gives anxiety right???? I mean come on the majority of folks who seek a medical fix for feeling sad or anxious or angry or who suffer from a dependency really need that help (I did) I went through the immigration process with my spouse. Anyone who has been through that long scary process knows how stressful and expensive it is, but this is the thing….

I DID need that paxil and I WAS in constant panic for years before I sought help. The immigration process sent me over with anxiety for fear of loosing my husband to the fate of this worlds laws. I should mention it has been years past now and every thing great, but for those 2 years on paxil I DID need it and it saved me form a horrific spiral downward.

My point I knew I was feeling better (still a bit fearful of symptoms returning once off though) about 6 months ago I was laid off, still caring the 70+ lbs. I had put on with paxil generally feeling like crap after numerous job interviews that got me nowhere due to the amount of people out there for the same interviews. I was in control of my feelings and thoughts though, just your every day problems creeping up. So what did I do..went to the doc complaining of weight gain and increased anxiety (when I knew I should get off paxil at that time) She prescribed effexor………………………… We ALL know how that goes… I thought I’d try, went straight from paxil to effexor. Did have many side effects and was still feeling good….until I decided this is stupid I do not need this med anymore. I am now 5 days into withdrawal (was on it for like 7 months) I have every scary side effect that has been listed. I want to let you know that Benedrl DOES seen to help I tried yesterday and take 2 every four hrs. I know it sounds silly that an antihistamine would help, but it does soften the blow! That and migraine pills like tylenol help with the dizziness as well. I too hope these withdrawals leave soon and I will think twice about ever going back on another antidpressent (maybe that is the silver line of effexor) it is making us rethink our lives and get off these meds we CAN live without.
sorry for writing a book..{:

April 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm
(429) Lori Jonson says:

I have been trying to go off of 150 mg BID Effexor and have been having unpleasant symptoms. I’m very happy that you people have posted, so I feel not so alone in this. On another site someone wrote in and said you need to open the capsules and take a tiny bit out, that is, cut back THAT SLOWLY, gradually taking less and less. I found that a 75 mg. step was way too much to handle emotionally. Effexor does help me so I am ambivalent about going off. Basically, I don’t want to be on a med that has this much control over me; if I go 24 hrs. without it, I feel life is not worth living and I start thnking about my gun. Just lowering my dose I feel depressed, irritable and angry. My blood pressure and pulse are on a roller coaster. I guess I don’t know if I am going off this or not.

May 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm
(430) Bob Marshall says:

I was on Effexor for the last 7 years and started reducing 3 weeks ago. My most significant withdrawl symtom other than general malaise has been “brain shocks”. These start within 24 hours of withdrawl and seem worse at the end of the day. If I can get to bed and to sleep I usually am fine untill the next evening.

My Brain Shocks seem to be disimilar to most descriptions. They are a sudden series of shocks at intervals of 2 to 3 seconds. I have experienced a number of electrical shocks over my 74 years ranging from grabbing a spark plug wire which gerks all the nerves in your body violently’ to 120 to 240 volt accidents.

The brain shocks are electrical without doubt in my case. They start quite quickly and then come at steady (about 2 second intervals. They are quite intense and suddenly jolt my whole brain with similtaneous responses at what I think are all the reflexive points in my body (elbows, knees, ankles etc. They seem to be electrical stimulations but do not produce the normal reflective physical movements that your MD may ellicit while testing reflexes.

These seem disimilar to essentially all of the descriptions I have read. I would be very intrested in learning if others have experienced this phenomana.

May 23, 2010 at 11:37 am
(431) Roz says:

Thank God I found this page.
My head is so dizzy.
And I am looking at the dates on the other comments.
Effexor needs to be taken off the market.

July 1, 2010 at 12:14 am
(432) Joyce Turchetti says:

I’m through my 4th week of dosage reduction on Effexor and then started Wellbutrin alone yesterday. Besides the brain shivers that has been well documented I have broken down 4 times today in hesterical sobbing. I hid it the first couple of times, but my husband found me the third time and now won’t leave my side.

I had been on Effexor for 14 years (after sudden death of my brother). I have approached my doctor several times on wanting to get off of Effexor, because my husband has told me that Effexor is “old school drugs”. He is prescribed meds by a psychiatrist and he has no side affects or problems.
My doctor continually made me feel like I was silly and if I was seeing results, leave it alone.

Well the doc suddenly listed to me last month, worked out a 4 week plan, gave me a limited supply of the Wellbutrin so I have to come back and let him know how I’m doing. This is telling me that his practice has finally read the complaints about effexor and are now listening to patients.

The problem is, I suffered for years on this med and did the right thing by bringing it to his attention-but to no avail. I experience the frightening nightmares that left me scared even during my waking hours. I have had continual ringing in my ears now for 6 months, he tells me that he can’t do anything for that???? Is my brain matter damaged now?

Also, I’ve noticed that my hands, wrists, ankles, feet are sore and ache. Has anyone experienced this???
To be continued after my doctor visit next week.

July 5, 2010 at 3:08 am
(433) LINDA says:

I thought I was going mad till I read these pages. I have been on effexor for nearly four years, without having been told about side effects or withdrawl symptoms should I want to stop. I have been taking 300mg every day for severe depression due to situations at home with my husband and drug addicted step son, I hate to admit but I came very close to suiciding if I had taken the right tablets I may not be here today. Things settled down for awhile and I thought I was going great, this last year has been horrendous though (I am to frightened to leave him). Just recently I was retrenched and things started getting worse again. My doctors solution is to put my dose up to 450mg a day. I came away from the doctors office thinking, what the hell, I am taking this stuff and still am not coping with things????? I decided that instead of upping my meds I would wean myself off them and see if I may get back to feeling normal and not dopped up all the time. Well I think I may have done it too fast but have not had anything for a couple of days now. To begin with I cut down to 1 150mg tablet instead of 2 for a little while, then I started having it only every second day, then every third day etc. stretching it until I havent had one for about four five days now?? I have been having the works, dizziness, debilitating coughing, nausea, headaches, earaches, sweating, lethargic, food tasting awful, aches and pains etc., my husband says they are not withdrawl symptoms I just have a cold. I feel just awful most of the time but I really do not want to go back onto the effexor, but am tempted to take one here and there to get me through. After reading this page I wont be doing that though. My doctor does not know I have stopped taking it yet, I thought I could be smart and stop it and just go in an tell her. I am feeling awful and am wondering if anyone can tell me how long it may take before I feel better and possibly get back to the person I was before all this started.

July 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm
(434) Gladys says:

holy crap, y’all.
If I had read one-TENTH of this–hell, one-HUNDREDTH!–I would have heard the doctor say “Ef…” and probably would have gotten up and walked myself out of that office. WOW. These comments span YEARS and still this hot mess is on the market???

Just because hey, I’m doin’ it too: just lost six days of my life I won’t get back–decided to wean myself off.

Now–first of all: I was a hardcore IV heroin addict for roughly 5 years. I was on methadone for closer to 10 years. And several years ago I weaned myself off methadone, which I have been told is impossible. So I know a bit about weaning myself off stuff.

Man, if weaning from methadone is “impossible”, then somebody needs to invent a new word for what getting off of effexor is. Because I have never–NEVER!–been this sick and miserable as I was trying to come off that stuff. I have puked out so much liquid–couldn’t keep solids down to save my life–but I have puked out so much liquid that I should look like a California raisin. I have had to fend off both my mom and my man trying to take me to the hospital, because both of them (probably rightly!) don’t think ANYONE can be this sick and live. And let us not speak more of the nematode who calls himself my employer–he deserves as much respect as this “medicine” which has left us all in this condition.

My point here is: This is not me. This is not how I live, how I work, how I function. I have spent great amounts of time trying to overcome both my own poor choices and my own brain chemistry, and while I’ve managed somewhat to do both of those, I sure as hell CAN NOT prevail over the whole American medical establishment–and if they’re going to give me false info, missing info, no info at all? What chance do I have? What chance do ANY of us have?

I walked across to the pharmacy across from work and picked up the effuxup prescription I’d been trying to avoid, and I took 150 of the 225 I was originally prescribed. I WILL try this again, especially now that I know this resource is here and there’s so much info about what all of you have found that works–but Jabba the Boss tells me I “absolutely MUST” be in tomorrow at 8 AM, so–threats to barf on his shoes aside–resistance is currently futile anyway. :) Hang in there, my friends. Thanks for being here.

July 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm
(435) Keith says:

What can I say but “ditto”. I’m coming off of both Meth and effexor at the same time now. BUT, I quit cold turkey 2 weeks ago and still have no relief in site. I went part time at my job to help deal with it. It really ruined my life. BUT, I am going to beat this. I don’t care if I have to fly to Tibet and climb a mountain to look for a fat blind man in a cave to give me the answer, by God, I’m going to beat it. Good Luck

July 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm
(436) stew says:

I was on Effexor for over 5 yrs. My highest doeses were 225mg.I have been trying to reduce my doses over last year and am completely off it for 2 weeks now.My anxiety is terrible and my mood swings and temper flares are through the roof.Can anybody give me some advice please

July 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm
(437) Kate says:

Thank you all for these comments – I’ve been on this poison called venlafaxine (effexor) for ten years after being hospitalised with a complete breakdown. At one point I was on 375mg per day – yes I know, well above the recommended dose – I’m now down to half a tab every other day. It is pure hell. I switch between fighting back tears to wanting to hit someone for being mildly annoying! But….I am determined to follow through. A word of encouragement – my friend came off effexor a year ago and although she said it was sheer hell at the time, managed to get through and says life is great…and has lost all the weight she’d been battling with which the drs said was nothing to do with the drug! I’ve managed to put on 6 stone over the 10 years on it and I’m intending to fight that battle once I’m free of the drug.

July 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm
(438) Marci says:

Hey, I have been weaning down on Effexor for months now and just started skipping my 75 mg dose every other day, then every two days, now every three days. It’s been tough – I don’ t mind the brain shivers (a little disconcerting, but not much more than that, as far as I’m concerned) but the irritability is hell. I know I’m being irrationally and excessively reactive and angry but I can’t seem to get a grip on it. I’d throw in the towel and start gobbling my Effexor again except that I think there’s a grain of truth in my tantrums and that it’s important for me to know. I just have to be able to moderate my strong negative feelings and to keep my mouth shut. Hopefully, this gets better. I’m starting to think that the only reason I was such a nice person for the last few years was that I was drugged. That’s a bummer. Anyone know what I’m saying??? Thanks, M

July 21, 2010 at 1:02 am
(439) Phil says:

Hey everybody, Well I have now made it to day #4 with no effexor and I am glad I found this site. I was wondering what the hell was going on with the nerves in my hands and the lack of energy. I was only on this since the end of January and did not expect to have any type of W/D symptoms. I was wrong, anyways I have been taking about 50mg of seroquil at night and 15 mgs of mitrazapine at night as well and it has helped a ton. It might be worth looking into that if you need it. Mitrazapine is a low rate anti depressant and most people know about seroquil. Well I will update my status in another week to let ya know if thats still working.

August 10, 2010 at 12:55 am
(440) Sherry says:

I’ve been on Effexor for 6 years. I’ve had the brain zaps and emotions for 6 years when I accidently missed a dose. I figured out it was the meds. I never felt life was stable enough for me to go off this wicked med, but now my life is more stable with less problems. I’ve tapered down to 75mg’s in the last week and a half and it’s terrible! I’ve researched and read about Effexor for a long time now. It has features of methamphetimine and amphetimine. I’ve read about everyones stories and they are just like mine. I like my doctor but I think he may not totally understand how bad this is. He gets it, but I’ve been doing this on my own for awhile now because I don’t want to hear from him what others have been told by their docs, prozac, zoloft, or paxil temp only a few pills for a couple of weeks to take the edge off. I’ve been put on all three before and that very day I was put on them in different times of my life, I nearly went through the ceiling with anxiety. I’ve read stories of homeopathy to help with Effexor withdrawl, because I’ve read this is essentially like coming off a street drug like Meth. I’ve never been on meth but OMG! I’m going to try Omega 3, a B-100 Complex, and Magnesium Citrate. Once I talk to my doc and see if I can take these, try 5 HTP, or SAMe, or Gaba. I’m a Christian and never bought into homeopathy but now I’m willng to try anything. Talk to your dr. about SAMe, Gaba, o 5 HTP as it contridicts with synthetic anti-depressants. I hope this works because I’ve got the brain zaps, anger, then crying, anxiety, nausea/dry heaving, stomach cramps, eating like crazy, going to the bathroom all the time, loss of some sleep (I’m on 100mg Trazodone right now, Klonipin, and Ambien. Don’t try all the synthetics and natural stuff at once. Talk to your doctor. So far I haven’t had the massive headaches I used to get when I missed a dose and I’ve had the vivid nightmares, off and on through the years. I’ve had night sweats for 6 years on this poison. I guess I’ll let you know how I feel once I get to 37.50mg. I’m scared. I need this other stuff to work first before I try to wean down any further. I hope it helps. Anyone out there tried the natural remedies and have them work? I need to know. I have a feeling this may get worse before it gets better. I’m truly concerned. I kind of was in denial about all the severe withdrawls weaning down, but because of my experience with missing doses on accident and everyone blogs everywhere online, and what I’m experiencing now. I get it. Anyone out there got a remedy for the stomach cramps. They hurt some what, not excrutiatingly but I know they are there especially after I dry heave. I hope someone out there has some answers. I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel someday. I don’t want to have to go back on this stuff ever again!

August 10, 2010 at 1:31 am
(441) Sherry says:

I would also suggest plenty of exercise through all the withdrawl symptoms even if it’s long fast walks. That’s what I’ve been doing, long, fast walks. Get any exercise in you can. I does help. The natural endorphines make the emotions and I think even the physical symptoms feel better. I haven’t been able to do this every day, but I’m gonna sure try now.

August 13, 2010 at 12:57 am
(442) Julia says:

I am so terribly sorry that such a large number of individuals are suffering from the same hell-like withdrawal symptoms that I am, all from these damned meds.

Originally, I went on effexor xr (150 mg dosage) in April. Prior to this, I’d struggled with IBS, but NEVER to the point of debilitation that I was expiriencing once on effexor. About two weeks after beginning effexor, my IBS became so bad that my rectum actually prolapsed. I had to go into the ER at 2 am one night, because the prolapse was so sever, I couldn’t push it back in. The ER docs poured sugar on it, in order to reduce the swelling. I was prescribed a regimine of enemas and laxatives, along with my favorite orders to “drink more water, eat more fiber, and EXERCISE!” Well, I drink like a camel, consume bran, fruits, and veggies like there’s no tommorow, and to top it all off, just happen to be an endurance athlete. Alas, my healthy lifestyle has brough my bowels no avail. The doctors, at this point, are stunned with my sluggish bowels and prolapsed rectum, for at the age of 17, I appear to be relatively healthy.

Like most instances with Western Medicine, I’m given no relief for my prolapsed rectum. No doctors were suspect of the effexor worsening my IBS symptoms, so I continued on with this drug as it slowly eroded the quality of my life. My OCD crept up again. I started to isolate myself. My days became reduced to sleep, exercise, and internet usage. I was living in a black whole.

This went on for months and has gone on for months. I’ve realized that I’ve slipped back into a deep depression, totally cut off from the world. And my IBS is to the point of debilitation. I don’t digest food anymore. It just sits in my expanding, painfully distended stomach. Not much passes through my bowels, other than blood and mucus. I spend hours on the toilet with no luck. Gas has become so problematic that I can no longer be in public most days. I’m fed up with the way that my life is going, and after talking with my therapist and mother, realized that things have been headed south since beginning effexor.

So two nights ago, my mom and therapist supported my decision to stop effexor cold turkey. I know the withdrawal is going to be hell, but the life I’m living now is hell. I can’t do anything or even go anywhere, let alone muster up the motivation/ambition to complete the simplest of tasks. Tomorrow will begin day three of effexor withdrawal. Luckily, I’m working with a naturopathic doctor to combat the withdrawal.

Thus far, I’m expiriencing sever weakness, hot/cold flashes, irratability, and the infamouse “brain zaps”. I don’t care though, this drug has ruined my life. I want it’s toxicity out of my system. I’m determined to get off for good.

My ND did reccomend a few supplements, such as L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP to combat the withdrawal. I’ve been taking these now for a day, so it’s probably too soon to tell.

I hope that I can come back again, I want to live again and escpoare this psudo wrolds that effexor has me trapped in.

Best of luck to everyone, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

March 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm
(443) Eunice says:

I can’t believe the pain you have suffered, my withdrawal seems trivial compared to what you gone through, are you better now.

August 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(444) Annie says:

Un-fricking believable. I have just spent most of this day reading these comments from all of you who took the time to share your experiences. Some stories brought me to tears and those were the real, sad, disturbing ones. But even the more positive stories brought me to tears cuz, it’s so good and gives me relief to know that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel….no, let me re-phrase that…there IS LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.

I have been on Effexor-XR for bout years. Yes, it was prescribed to me at a moment in my life by an incident that turned by life upside-down. Why or how did I get talked into taking this drug, I will never know cuz I consider myself anti-drug. Desparation, I guess. I had family and I wanted to be the best I could for them so I got talked into a 175 mg prescription. Life took a turn for the better. I excelled at work, I was the model parent, I was good and kind and understanding to everyone. I was everyones best friend. If I had only the guts to have endured this “incident” in my life back in 2002, I wouldn’t be a) on this blog b) describing my life on Effexor and c) thankful to the powers that be that all of you have confirmed that I am NOT imagining all these horrible, withdrawal symptoms that are literally driving me insane.

Its Day 6 and I quit cold turkey from a daily dose of 75 mgs (been on 75 mg for the last 5 years) Oh, the original incident that sent me running to my family doctor years ago? Time, support and patience has corrected that. I never needed the God damn drug afterall. If only I had realized that at the time….but life is full of what-ifs.

I wanted to quit after things went back to normal but couldn’t. I was addicted. My doctor kept me on it, because she said if life is going fine, its the meds and you need to keep balanced. God, what was I thinking? I guess it was so much easier to stay on it then get off it.

Well Day 6 and still the symptoms persist. I am being hopeful and thinking positive that the worst of this will pass and maybe a month from now, I will be “better” than what I’m feeling today. I appreciate the info the Ginko Biloba and the 5-HTP, the Activated Charcoal and the Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Before the day is done, I will have purchased if not one but all of those and pray that something will help me get through this. That and exercise which although will be difficult, I will give it my best shot.

Thanks to you all for sharing your thoughts, your insight.

Good luck to those still seeking relief, but I do believe it will happen for alot of us….just keep believing. De-toxifying ourselves is the answer….I do agree with that now in light of what you’ve told me…..thank-you and God Bless.

August 15, 2010 at 2:25 am
(445) Eileen C says:

Hey, reading these comments are so interesting. I totally get it. Unfortunately I have been trying to get off effexor from my psychiatrist as well as my Primary with no luck. I was feeling very depressed. panicky on a dose of 112.5. I was desperate and my doc told me he was away (and still is for another month_ so he wanted me to call my primary with concerns. he would not change. So I am weaning myself off. Physically every single muscle aches. migraines back with a vengeance and not sure what brain shivers feel like, but, I feel very sensitive to noise. very bizarre feeling. When I hear a loud noise I feel as if I can feel it through my whole body. I just wish there was a good anti anxiety agent out there to help us!

August 18, 2010 at 12:55 am
(446) Sherry says:

The homeopathy is working! However I’m still on 75mg of Effexor, however again after going through all the withdrawls, I’ve leveled out. Once my period is over, I’m going to go to 37.50 mg. I will again expect withdrawal, but I’ve got an anxiety med (small dose) and small dose of Trazodone to help both with sleep and anxiety with the homeopathy stuff I bought. It’s going to be hell off and on for awhile, but I think I’m gonna make it and so will you! Get lots of sleep and exercise it helps! And eat healthy. God bless you all!
Sherry

August 18, 2010 at 1:21 am
(447) Sherry says:

Between consoling with my psychiatrist, the pharmacy, New Seasons nutritional specialist, and me researching everything on my meds and each homeopath remedy I take, we found for me these homeopathy remedies: Omega 3, B-100 complex, Magnesium Citrate powder, and GABA Ease a Gamma-Aminobutryic Acid and L-Theanine. There are some other calming herbs in GABA Ease. Gaba because with 5-HTP and SAMe there is drug interaction with Effexor and these two. You don’t want to end up with Serotonin Syndrome. So Gaba works because there is no drug interraction between it and Effexor. All that I have listed are actually homeopathic remedies for coming off meth believe it or not! Effexor has methamphetamine and amphetamine qualities to it. These qualities to Effexor ramp up the Norepinephrine in you known as adrenaline I believe. I also threw in there Vitamin D as I was a little low from my last blood test. So my PCP had said take some Vitamin D, so I take that too. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, and try a store that has homeopathy remedies, and find a nutritional expert in charge there and put all your heads together for the right remedies for you. It also helps to have a low dose anxiety med like Klonopin if you have bad anxiety issues. I hope this helps. I hope it continues to help me. Again God bless you all.
Sherry

August 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm
(448) Hopeful says:

Thank you to all who have taken the time to share your experiences on this site. Had I not found it a few years ago I would never have tried to get off Effexor. My Dr. kept telling me I would need it forever, just like a diabetic needs insulin. I asked for a referral to see a Phsychiatrist. I have to add that when I started taking Effexor 10 yrs ago it was a God send. I was a mess! So depressed I could not function. Had tried Prozac and Paxil with horrible results. My Psychiatrist worked with me for about a year before weaning me off the med. He explained that my life is not where it was 10 yrs ago. And during that time I’ve learned to deal with the things that brought on my depression and because I did not have a lifelong history of depression that my chances of getting off the medication was very good and I should certainly try. He did warn me I was probably going to feel miserable and that many people cannot get off Effexor because of the side effects. I was on 225mg. I have been taking .5 mg of Rivitral for 10 yrs as well. That was prescribed for general anxiety. I stared decreasing the effexor in April. I did it very slowly, 3-5 wks. Each time I decreased the dosage the side effects were noticable ,but tolerable;mild headaches, flu like synptoms,etc only lasting a couple of days. I was down to 37.5mg, then 5 days ago I took my last Effexor! I am so out of control! I break down and cry over nothing at all, I feel like I hate everyone, I scream and throw things in the house. This is very much out of character for me. I also have the physical side effects, but they are fairly mild. Hopefully this will help someone else trying to make the decision to come of this toxic drug. I am really going though hell with my emotions, but I am very hopeful that this will soon pass. I am lucky to have a very supportive family who knows what I am going through as well. I will post an update about my “moods”in a few days. Its much too soon to know if I will be able to live without anti-depressants, but I will never again take Effexor! I hope Drs. will only prescribe this when all else fails. Best of luck to everyone.

August 24, 2010 at 2:46 am
(449) Sherry says:

I am over a month now on 75mg of Effexor. I went through all the withdrawals. I take all the homeopathics to help. I leveled out. I still haven’t gone down to 37.50 and I think I’m feeling backlash withdrawal again. I’ve been angry, then I’ve been depressed, crying and anxious. I’m not even in my period cycle right now. I’m sleeping fine, but I feel shaky and weak when I get up, not much of an appetite and throwupy. By afternoon and evening I’m depressed, crying, anxious. I take the Effexor at night. I think by the next day and end of the day it’s gone out of my system. And I’m supposed to start reducing it again Aug 25th. I’m scared. I’m miserable. I am going to tolorate this and conquor this stupid Effexor with God’s help!

August 24, 2010 at 2:48 am
(450) Sherry says:

God bless us all in this!!!

August 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm
(451) Hopeful says:

Just a little update. 14 days since my last Effexor. My moods have improved somewhat, but still have mild flu like symptoms. Its been two days since I cried over nothing. Thats an improvement! I don’t feel so out of control this week. Everyday seems to be a little better, but I know I still have a long way to go. Exercise helps. Looking forward to the day I wake up and actually feel good, if that day ever comes. I’ll post again soon. Good Luck everyone.

September 6, 2010 at 2:27 am
(452) Debbie says:

I like reading evryone’s comments because I am going through a weird Effexor withdrawal too. When I saw my shrink last week she told me I was to go off the Effexor because I was a bit hypomanic : she noticed my racing speach, thoughts jumping too fast and a feeling of elevated energy. I have stopped taking the 75mg (I tapered down with a few days of 37.5) and now I feel my brain has slowed down. Boy has it slowed down…
I have a sort of flu like feeling. I have brain zaps mostly when I yawn. I feel slightly drunk but haven’t touched a drop of grog, I hope all these side effects settle soon.

September 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm
(453) Nina says:

Hi all

Reading all these posts have made me wonder:

From 75mg to 37.5mg every other day for 2 weeks, then 37.5mg for 2 weeks, then none…

or

From 75mg to 37.5mg every day for two weeks and then none

or

as someone suggested cold turkey and deal with it…

HELP
THE DOCTORS WONT

IS THERE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT GOING AT THE MOMENT THAT ANYONE KNOWS OF?

September 15, 2010 at 6:14 am
(454) Sherry says:

Hi all,
It’s been about almost a week since I quit taking Effexor all together now from the 37.5 mgs. Head zaps, crying, and anger, but then I’m in my period, then found out that I might have a breast cancer scare and also having major allergies to irritate the heck out of me. So I’m kind kind of quadruple whammied right now. It got better when I was 37.5 mgs for awhile, so I expect being off of Effexor will get better, and I know my period is ending now and allergies, God knows when they will end considering it’s a bad year for them, but the possibility of breast cancer and even more expensive drugs because of that, Gads. Can I not win? I’ll let you all know unless I’m so stressed this could be the end of my posts. I need to take care of me from now on if I have breast cancer. God bless you all in the conquest to get off Effexor. God bless you all.
Love,
Sherry

September 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(455) Sherry says:

2 weeks off of Effexor. Feeling better a bit. Brain zaps are disappearing. I’m tired and still feel emotional, but not extremely emotional. I do cry at the drop of a hat. Still haven’t found out about my breasts yet. Could be a factor also in my emotions.

Love,
Sherry

September 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm
(456) Sherry says:

Hey also, I did lose some weight. About 5 pounds or so. :O)

September 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm
(457) Sherry says:

And yeah I’m still achey a lot and I don’t have good focus anymore. Hope that changes after awhile.

September 25, 2010 at 11:57 am
(458) Esther says:

Unbelievable.

I’ve been on Effexor XR for 9 years (for “situational” depression — the situation is gone, but the drugs remain).

I tapered from 150 mg to 112.5 to 75 to 37.5 over a period of 8 months, experiencing all of the rotten withdrawal symptoms along the way. When I mentioned the symptoms to my doctor, he looked it up (in front of me!) and told me that they aren’t symptoms related to effexor withdrawal. Huh.

Last week I was put on steroids for an unrelated inflammation, and the withdrawal symptoms disappeared. When the steroids ended, the withdrawal came back.

I’ve stopped taking the drug entirely — am now on day three. I figure that as long as I’m going to have the symptoms, I might as well try to get completely off the drug. It is miserable.

Because I was on this drug for such a long time I’m fearful that the symptoms may never go away. I will NEVER allow an MD to prescribe mind-altering drugs for me again.

Is there anyone out there who was on the drug for as long as I was, who successfully got off? When did the withdrawal symptoms subside?

September 30, 2010 at 7:27 am
(459) Ronm says:

Two days off, i’m climming the walls…my brain is jello. my emotions come back into shasrp phocus, concentration so bad i can’t type. I feel like there is peoplr buhind the set that want do destroy us unless me manage to escape
Wo, i’m ill

September 30, 2010 at 11:56 am
(460) Scott says:

Can anyone tell me if there is a difference between Effexor and Venfaxaline????? I have been on Effexor for about 10 years…….75mg and then 150mg for the past 5 1/2 years…. I was switched to Venfaxaline by insurance (generic i guess)….Not even sure if any really helped….my diagnosis was situation depression with some major symptoms, and I quote “obsessive thinking, anhedonia, and discouragement”……this was kinda news to me when I was told…….but knew I had “some issues”…who doesn’t???? Anyway years have gone by and I have stayed on it like brushing my teeth…..morning routine……..I know all too well about the head spins, sweats, etc. if I forget to take a dose…..Now for the first time in years, I feel unsettled and wondering if the switch could play any factor…….Discovering this blog has somewhat “horrified” me as to what people have been experiencing with effexor and I need to re-visit this “AD” situation completely….Thanks

October 5, 2010 at 12:28 am
(461) Elizabeth S. says:

I’m so glad to find other people who have had the same symptoms that I have been experiencing! I’ve taken Effexor for 5 yrs. It was prescribed by my GP for post-partum dep, but my psych agreed that I have probably been clinically depressed for yrs. Effexor worked for the 1st yr, until I adjusted to it and needed to increase the dose to get the same effectiveness. Several more yrs and several more dose increases later, I started experiencing limb twitches and the ever-delightful lack of sexual pleasure. Frankly, lack of sexual pleasure is enough to make anyone’s depression return. :) Did anyone else know that Effexor is a drug prescribed to men with premature ejaculation? My GP told me that when I mentioned my lovely sexual side-effect. We decided that it was time to switch to a non-SSRI (Wellbutrin).

This has been the worst 5 mos. of HELL I have ever experienced!! I tried weening, and when that didn’t work, she gave me 1 wk of Prozac to take, while at the same time stopping the Effexor completely. The first 2 wks after the Prozac were fantastic! Now, in the 3rd wk, the same old withdrawl symps are coming on again…nausea, headache, ear ringing, crying, “brain shivers” (I’m glad to know there’s a name for those horrendous events), throat closing, anxiety, etc.

This post is continued in the next post due to character limits…

October 5, 2010 at 12:30 am
(462) Elizabeth S. says:

…Continued from last post

My GP has actually apologized for the withdrawl symps saying that Effexor was so promising when it first came out, but there had never really been any long-term studies done to evaluate the withdrawl symps after prolonged use. WTF??!! Are you kidding me? If I was dying of cancer or AIDS or something and a new drug might be my only hope of surviving, I’d say go ahead to the FDA and pass the thing through – if it’s a matter of life or death, the risk is worth it to me. This instance with Effexor, however, is just a blatant disregard for medical ethics! I feel like I can’t trust anyone for medical advice anymore. I love my GP, but if even SHE was fooled by this drug and it’s fancy sales campaign, then how can I trust her or any doc ever again?

I know I’ve lost the point of my post (thank you lack of focus) but basically, I’m just glad that there are other people out there who have had the same symps, and who have been brave enough to share them. I’m sad to know that people out there are still being given this drug without knowing the hell that is waiting for them in the future.

Maybe there is a petition to Congress or an activist group for Dep/Anxiety Disorders that can give all of us a more powerful voice?

Good luck,
Elizabeth S.

P.S. – Scott, if you are still reading, yes, Venfaxaline is the same thing as Effexor.

October 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(463) Sherry says:

One month off of Effexor and the brain zaps are totally gone. I have some depression right now because of PMS and something that was situational, breast cancer scare which I don’t have breast cancer, and family which are not healthy for me. But that’s all behind me now. This last week I physically worked hard and it helped the emotions. I do believe all the withdrawl symptoms are most all gone. My doc because I was complaining 1 1/2 weeks ago that I wasn’t feeling emotionally well wants to put me on Risperidone, but I’m not sure if I need it now. I do still feel weak and uncordinated like Effexor made me feel like I was the bionic woman and strong, now I feel back to my old uncordinated self, but that’s normal for me from long years past. I decided for me Gaba and SAM-e were not working for me.

Here’s though what I want you all to know who are still struggling through the withdrawals of Effexor. Stay in there, stay stubborn, and you will beat this thing. Don’t give up. It can be done. I and other people are living proof that sticking with this and have tenacity and the will power to endure until the end and you will find relief from the jaws of Effexor and it’s withdrawals. Stick it out folks. It really can be done. God bless you all.

Love,
Sherry

October 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(464) Sherry says:

I will say I still lack some concentration. I also know that happens to me every month PMS/Period time, but I know the withdrawals of Effexor caused a lot of my lack of concentration. It’s better now though everyone. So please, still keep hoping. Don’t give up. It can be done. It can be done. It can be done. Shear will power and the help of Jesus really has helped me. Believe.

Love,
Sherry

October 11, 2010 at 11:07 am
(465) Sandra says:

Hello from Canada.

For a week, I’ve been trying to withdraw from Effexor (again). Unrelenting brain zaps accompanied by dizziness, cold sweats, body heaviness and nausea plague me. When my feet don’t feel like concrete, my limbs are jumping. It’s nearly impossible to explain.
About 2-3 years ago I was prescribed 37.5mg for hot flashes – menopause. The drug helped for a week, but I continued to increase to 75 mg as prescribed. This went on for about a year with no improvement. I decided that since it wasn’t helping, I would wean myself off of this “nearly insignificant” dosage. I skipped a pill. God almighty! I got brain zaps and dizziness to the point of being bed-ridden. Nauseau and body twitches continued along with heart palpitations. Finally, it dawned on me that this could be withdrawal and I reluctantly took 75mg. Within 24 hours the symptoms stopped. Later in the year, I tried again with the same results. After discussion with my doctor about hot flashes, which had actually increased, the dosage was increased 150mg. After no improvement, I decided enough was enough and asked my doctor for a prescription of 37.5 mg pills, to enable me to slowly wean off the drug. I spoke to the pharmacist about withdrawal and the look in his eyes was a bit shocking. He said be careful and do this very slowly. I’ve been at it for 2-3 months finally getting to 37.5, which I took every other day for a week and then nothing for the last 4 days. Today I can’t drive due to dizziness and electrical brain shocks, crying is at times uncontrollable, I can’t sleep and although I’m nauseous, I can’t stop eating. My passive nature has changed and at times, I’d like to punch someone’s face in for no reason.
I’ve been referred to a neurologist,cardiologist and have undergone tests in attempt to discover the cause of my symptoms. I’m perfectly healthy apparently.
I could go on, but suffice it to say, my life has become a living hell. This website may have saved my life.

October 12, 2010 at 11:59 am
(466) Sandra says:

Update.

12 hours after taking 37.5 mg of Effexor, the brain zaps disappeared. I’ve called a lawyer. If anyone else interested in joining a class action suit, please let me know and I’ll provide legal information as I get it.

February 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm
(467) Robin says:

Please put a post on here if you do go forward with a class action lawsuit. I may be interested in joining you. In the meantime, I may talk to a lawyer too.

October 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm
(468) Elizabeth S. says:

Sandra,

I am sorry that you have suffered so much. I had identical symptoms when I tried to “wean” myself off (see my earlier posts for my full story.) I called my dr. again after 1 wk off everything because I couldn’t take it anymore. She said to take another wk of Lexapro because it was the only thing that could make it better. I said “hell no!” I chose to grit my teeth, complain to anyone who would listen, and hide until it was over. I would rather die than put another SSRI of any kind into my body.

I’m happy to say that I have made it almost a month without anything and I am feeling mostly normal now. I still have the brain shivers every once in a while, usually when I am tired, and I am still quite teary for no reason.

If you decide to quit, please know that it WILL GET BETTER. I promise. I would love to see some legal action taken against the makers/distributors of Effexor. If you go forward with your plans, please keep me posted here, I will be glad to join.

October 19, 2010 at 11:48 am
(469) Aimee says:

Brain shivers…I never knew what to call it! That was pretty much the only side effect I had after discontinuing Lexapro. My question is, how long does it take before this drug is completely out of your body?

October 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm
(470) Francesca says:

Hi Everyone,
I am so happy I found this website. I thought I was losing my mind! Reading your comments has really helped me. I was on Effexor XR for about 6 weeks this summer after switching from Celexa 20 mg. My doctor never informed me about any type of withdrawal effects. I decided to go off it in June and skipped a couple of pills and stopped taking it. A week later I had severe nausea and dizziness, like my head was floating, and I went to my GP who thought it was an ear infection. I never thought about the possibility of effexor withdrawal until my ear tests came out normal. I was severely off balance, vomiting, and sicker than I have ever been. When I finally put two and two together, we called my psychiatrist, who told me to start taking it again. She also dropped me from her practice because I went off of it! Ridiculous. I found another doctor who tapered me off of it slowly and added Prozac to help me get off effexor. I have never felt worse in my life. My head feels like it is in a blender and I am constantly nauseated and feel sick. My OCD and anxiety are nothing compared to this drug. It should be outlawed. I think people aren’t made aware of the dangers of this drug and they get on it to the point where it is so difficult to get off and the drug companies just keep getting more money. I am not going to stay on these drugs. I am trying my best to get off this poison and will neve

November 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(471) Sandra says:

Hello everyone.

Something that my “conventional” pharmacist actually suggested was to go to a compounding pharmacy where dosages can be made to any strength. I contacted my doctor, who didn’t think of, but agreed to this course of action. I’m down to 35mg and in 5 days will switch to 30 mg. I stay on each strength for 2 weeks. The withdrawal will likely take 4-6 months, but this beats the alternative. The brain zaps have stopped completely and I’m nearly back to normal with the exception of some residual dizziness, which comes and goes. My mood is still a bit dark, but no more thoughts of ending it all. Again, thanks to all who came to this site before me. It definitely saved my life. Will be back to post how this reduction is coming along, especially when the time finally arrives that I’m down to nil.

November 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm
(472) Sandra says:

Hi All,

I am also shocked how doctors DO NOT inform their patients on the addiction of anti-depressants. We are having withdrawal symptoms because our bodies can’t handle going off the stuff, just like illegal drugs.

I am so happy to find this sight and I to want to join the class action suit against the makers of effexor. sign me up. I went down as far as I could cutting the pills in half (not all pill can be cut in half-check with pharmacist) I was down to 6mg. and then I stopped. it took 3 or 4 days and then the crash.
here are my symptoms:Here are my symptoms: that mimic depression: crying spells, low energy, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping; those that mimic anxiety: nervous, tense, anxious, jittery; irritable, restless, confusion, cognitive difficulties, forgetfulness (extreme), mood swings, intense dreaming, nightmares, flu like aches and pains, fever, sweats, chills (they make me feel better), runny nose, soar eyes, light and noise sensitivity, nausea, stomach bloating, motion sickness, dizziness, hung over or waterlogged feeling, tremors or twitches, electric zap’s in the brain, abnormal visual sensations, excessive saliva.
sincerely, SAndra

November 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(473) sandrap says:

To the other sandra, I was down to 6mg and went off. The most terrible sypmtoms ever:Here are my symptoms: that mimic depression: crying spells, low energy, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping; those that mimic anxiety: nervous, tense, anxious, jittery; irritable, restless, confusion, cognitive difficulties, forgetfulness (extreme), mood swings, intense dreaming, nightmares, flu like aches and pains, fever, sweats, chills (they make me feel better), runny nose, soar eyes, light and noise sensitivity, nausea, stomach bloating, motion sickness, dizziness, hung over or waterlogged feeling, tremors or twitches, electric zap’s in the brain, abnormal visual sensations, excessive saliva…it has been a week, I still feel really bad, but I am starting to feel a tiny bit better. I noticied Elizabeth and Sherry above say we can make it…I am going to try and tough it out…for one more week.

November 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(474) sandrap says:

Hi its Sandrap again. I am now off of effexor for 10 days now. I am finally feeling better. see my last two post above. I am so happy to have made it through the hard withdrawal symptoms without going back on effexor. I NEVER want to take THAT drug again. I was on Paxil, same horrible withdrawal symptoms. Effexor and Paxil are supposed to be notorious for withdrawal symptoms. I am glad to report that yes, you will get past the most horrible sickness. If you take it slow and wait, suffer and wait. I fould that Omega 3 capsules, choline, lecithin, and B complex suppliments helped. Omega 3 every 4 hours for head problems (3 to 5 capsules). Go to this site for more information:crazymeds.us/. research around in there, tons of helpful info.

November 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm
(475) sandrap says:

Hi all, I believe antidepressants are needed for those who cannot get out of bed or are in a hospital. They are good for serious depression. However, many of us have been in bad circumstances that has made us depressed. I was on antidepressants because I was in a bad marriage. I got out! and now I am getting off antidepressants. I was rarely down before I got into this bad situation. I think it is important to do research before you let any doctor give you anti-d’s. It seems that in today’s world, doctors just give us meds without asking any questions. I would suggest never taking Effexor or Paxil and only ask for prozac. That seems to be one of the only anti-d’s that does not have withdrawal symptoms. What I really want to say is do homework, research, or have a dear friend research for you. There are apparently lots of natural help for depression: 5-HTP, SAM-e, Rhodiola rosea, St Johns Wort. However, NONE of these should be taken with an anti-depressant!!!!

November 13, 2010 at 8:58 am
(476) Elizabeth S. says:

Congrats sandrap on getting through the worst! I have been totally off for probably about 8 weeks now and I feel fantastic. This is the best I’ve felt in years. I did have a couple of days just this week where I felt a little “fluish” and “swimmy”, and I chalked it up to still only being 8 wks out from Effexor, but it passed and I’m back to great. I do also find that I tear up more easily – for happy or sad reasons – but it’s actually kind of nice to feel “real” emotions again, instead of always being so numb. Way to go – this is just more hope for those of you out there who are going through the same thing. It will get better, just push through!

Elizabeth

November 17, 2010 at 4:23 am
(477) Rob says:

My Dr gave me depression pills to only find out I had low blood sugar..since I took those pills and stopped after 1 month it’s now been 3 months ..my ears are ringing constanly it is very loud when I wake up..it’s like a low echo in pipes and some type of morris code in the other..to let people know..low blood sugar has the same reactions and symptoms of depression/anxiety/panic attacks…do your research before letting any doc prescribe you pills..I think my ears are screwed for life!!! it’s so bad that it wakes me up.

November 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm
(478) Dan says:

I am trying to stay focused on getting off of effexor. I hope that there aren’t any long term effects (especially the dizziness) from this drug. I am equally disappointed that my Dr. didn’t sit with me long enough to discuss withdrawal symptoms. One side effect that I am experiencing is that my jaw hurts and it feels like my teeth are positioned differently(?) Weird but true.

November 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm
(479) Patricia Manson says:

First of all, to all those who are working on discontinued use of Effexor I want to say I am proud of you all. It is hard. The majority of Doctors know nothing about what they are really prescribing! Regardless of what your Doctor tells you, Effexor does come in a pill for which you are able to cut in half and then in quarters to help your body wean from the drug. Ask your pharmacy and your doctor. I’m taking a quarter of a 37.5 pill. I have vertigo sensations, like my brain is floating in water and everytime I move my brain swishes around. My eyes are real sensative in light. My shoulders and upper back muscles are tight and hurt real bad. However, I don’t have the shacking, or shock in my brain like I did with Paxil. I don’t feel more depressed or even any moodier. I will need to retrain my body to sleep better. I’m sleeping for 2-4 hours is all. I do feel ok when I wake up. Naps are a must because my body really is going through a lot right now. I took paxil and Wellbutrin and I was so close to suicide which is a side effect of the pill. Scary huh! My doctor said that paxil was ok to take while I was pregnant. NOPE! My son was born with heart and lung defects!!!! Don’t belive your doctors. If you can, please try to go natural. God knew us before we were born. He knew what herbs and plant we would need to stay healthy. Please try to go natural. The weight gain alone is killing me from taking effexor. I was 160 when I began taking effexor. Now I am a few pounds away from 300!!! The pharmacy, government and doctors are to blame!!!! Take care fellow friends. E-mail me if you need to talk etc. This is a hard time in your life but you will get through it!! Daddeespattie@aol.com

December 6, 2010 at 6:23 am
(480) Lisa says:

I stopped effexor 4 days ago. I have a shaking feeling in my forehead, (never had a seizure before, but I feel as though I’m on the brink of having one). Crying so easily (never had this before), moods very labile. Slept only for 3 hours each night for the past few nights. My psych wants to put me on lamictal for mood disorder–I feel as though I want to know me to see if I do really have a mood disorder before starting lamictal.

December 6, 2010 at 6:25 am
(481) Lisa says:

Addendum to last post, reason I’m coming off effexor is at the recommendation of cardiologist. I started having labile BP and high heart rate on effexor.

December 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm
(482) alison says:

1 month going off Effexior and my life sucks..I have gotten past the brain shivors..thank god and the dizziness, but my moodiness is really bad. I am so hostile to my family I just want to run away..crying all the time. I have so much anger that is is really scarrie..I need to get back to exersizing but have no motovation..I feel like I am going on a downward sprial and if I don’t stop it’s going to be bad..almost makes me want to start the meds again. But I won’t gone this long I have to keep strong! Merry Christmas!

December 14, 2010 at 11:27 am
(483) Paula says:

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have taken the time to post the side effects of weaning youself off of Effexor! I now know I am not crazy and need to take a serious look at totally weaning off of this medication sooner! After about 6 years, I am reducing my dosage and prayerfully, eventually want to completely stop taking the medicine! I have been without medicine for about 3 days because my mail delivery service had an address mix up and do not deliver over the weekend and I gave out. I must say, I’m a pretty tough cookie, but these brain shivers, the ringing in my ears, dizziness, tiredness, muscle soreness, crying and intense emotional frustration is putting a beating on me! I lead a pretty busy life however I have about shut down and finding it difficult to function. My medicine is promised to be delivered today however I am now wondering if I should just stay off of it and endure for several weeks or should I go ahead and take it?
Thank you for your insight and support!

December 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(484) Elizabeth S. says:

Paula, if I were you, I would go back on Effexor and continue to wean off. I tried going cold turkey under similar circumstances (my prescrip ran out and dr. took a long time calling in the refill.) I literally almost ended up in the emergency room. I have never felt so out of control of my body as I did during that time. It was way beyond the normal, albeit horrifying, withdrawl symptoms. I know everyone reacts differently to meds, but to be on the safe side, I would take it slow. Again, I am now completely off for 2 months and I feel great, so it will work even if it takes a while. Good luck!

December 25, 2010 at 11:52 am
(485) martha says:

Christmas day and i’m laughing and crying as i read all the posts throughout the years. I’ve taken effexor for 10 years, ya’ll. At one point i was on 300 mg a day. For the last 2 years I’ve taken 150 mgm a day. Here’s how i’m weaning off: I was able to get down to 37.5 mgm capsules by cutting each dose in half and staying on in for 2 to 3 weeks. Some mild side effects like everyone else but really managable. Then I started breaking open a 37.5 capsule and counting outing out the little balls so they were divided in half. I took that divided dose for 3 weeks. Then I divided those little piles of balls in half again. Took that for 3 weeks. All the time experiencing those effing side effects, but i could manage. I did this til i got to taking only 5 little balls a day for about 2 weeks. Then I quit taking any. It’s been about 10 days now not taking any. Initially I did suffer with those brain issues and cloudy head, mild persistant headache, upper back pain….like i was drunk and hungover at the same time. Mild nausea too. All that’s pretty much gone now. The episodes of unexplainable crying still occur but less frequently. I’m now able to laugh at myself as i cry! I also have had to take large doses of pepto bismal for the frequent bowel movements…but it works very, very well. That’s getting better, too. I’m so encouraged that I see my symptoms going away even if it’s happening slowly, I’m doing it.

January 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm
(486) prhiannon says:

WOW–three years of comments here, so many people, so much suffering.

May I offer a few suggestions for people wanting to come off Effexor, antidepressants, or any other psychiatric drugs? DON’T COLD TURKEY! you MUST wean slowly.

The forums paxilprogress and benzowithdrawal (Google them) have information about a liquid titration method that works for many meds, pretty much anything in tablet form.

Dr. Peter Breggin (Google him for his books) generally recommends cutting by no more than 10% of your current dose every three to six weeks. I personally recommend going slower if you are on multiple meds or have been on for many years.

I highly recommend the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, to anyone who has taken or is taking or is considering taking psych drugs.

Your brain changes its chemistry, shape, and cells in response to what the drugs do, so when you go off them you basically have to grow a new brain. This takes time but it can be done, but only with patience.

There’s more about this on my longwinded blog at http://prhii.squarespace.com.

My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Good luck. You can do this.

–Rhi

January 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm
(487) Debi says:

I have been going thru hell for the last week. I have been on 150mg of Effexor. I am on disability and when I refilled my Effexor last week the co-pay was $85.00!!! Being on a fixed income I could not afford it so I stop taking it overnight and it has been a nightmare!!! I was trying to discribe what was happinging to me to my girls and could not. Now I know I am having the Brain Shivers and it is horrible! I start to cry out of nowhere and the hot flashes are killer plus I can not sleep. I think this has been the most horrible thing I have been thru and going back and forth with my damn Dr.’s office has been a joke. And it still has not been resolved so here I suffer untill my Dr. takes the time to help me!!!

February 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm
(488) Robin says:

Hi Debi. As far as Effexor being too expensive, you can get the generic call venlafexine. Maybe you should check with your pharmacy and see if you can get some just to get you through the withdrawal time. I just recently missed three pills simply because I forgot to refill my prescription and my pill pack didn’t have one in it for the last three days. Man, I found out the hard way about the withdrawal symptoms. I am going to start taking mine every other day and then 3 times per week and see if I can wean off, then talk to my dr about taking something else or try to just take something for anxiety in stead. Hope this helps you unless you have already gotten past this. Maybe it will help someone!

January 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm
(489) Ben says:

WOW, I have read EVERY post, and while I feel bad for all of you (all of US), you do not know how much I appreciate each of you that have taken time to write about the withdrawal symptoms you have had, and the HELL you have gone through — bear in mind, I’m not glad you had to go through it, but there is some relief in knowing I’m not “the only one”.

Also, please forgive me as I see most of the posts concern getting off Effexor (sp?) but my story is about Lexapro [if anyone knows of a page like this but re: Lexapro, please provide a link or web address]. After 7 years on Lexapro, I decided that something needed to change. Steadily gaining weight from 190 to nearly 230, and simply the disappointment of feeling like I had to depend on a stupid drug for a normal life, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I read everything I could, both printed material and online sources, to learn all I could about Serotonin, SSRIs, alternative remedies, etc. I’ve alway been a logical person, so I thought instead of dealing with the reuptake issue, what if, just what if my body wasn’t producing much serotonin in the first place? HOW could I get more serotonin, or better yet how could I get my body to produce it?

(Continued)

January 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm
(490) Ben says:

I decided to taper off Lexapro and it was, for the most part, a living HELL but I am almost there. I’ve had lots of the same symptoms that you all have described, most notably the sudden “zap” or feeling similar to a head rush. Honestly, almost like a physical buzzing, like a buzzer at a basketball game went off in your body. I’m still a little nauseated, and dizzy as hell . . . geez, if I move my head even the slightest bit too fast, it’s a MAJOR ordeal. The sensation, best as I can describe it, is similar to experiencing the visual hallucination known as “tracers” when you’re overly tired or have had no sleep for an extended period of time. Granted, you don’t move your hand and see five more moving behind it in quick succession, but it is still a “woozy” feeling and it has made me more than miserable.

On to the more positive . . . as a result of my personal research, I am now taking 5-HTP (as a precursor to serotonin), Dramamine for the dizziness, Melatonin to help me sleep, and am contemplating taking SamE as well. If I have accompanying headaches, I take a couple of Alleve and all is well again. Now, I’m not past all the vivid dreams, etc., but those are a side-effect of 5-HTP. They aren’t bad, but one would be amazed how realistic the dreams can be. Overall, less than one month after starting this journey, I’m not feeling bad . . . I’m feeling alright.

(Continued)

January 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm
(491) Ben says:

To the best part: EVERY DAY IS GETTING BETTER. I’ve gone waaaaaaaaaaaay too far to give up . . . I’m almost back to normal. I say this to encourage each and every one of you reading these posts, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE AND VERY BENEFICIAL to quit the Lexapro–gradually, through tapering, of course. For those of you who, like me, have had the initial “conditions / root cause” of your anxiety, depression, or whatever change for the better, by all means give it a try, and for those of you who are trying, stick with it. IT WILL GET BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!

Believe me, whatever you try, well, whatever works for you will make it worthwhile once you are free of these drugs. I’m writing to encourage you that–although it’s hard to endure / experience all of these withdrawal symptoms, once you are on the downhill side of this thing, you will NEVER regret it. I can PROMISE you that.

Ben

January 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(492) brian says:

Hey been on effexor for over two yrs.would someone let me know the easiest way to wean myself off them
im on 150mg and my sex drive has totally gone.wife not happy.has treated my depression really well.im caught in a dilemma.really afraid of illness returning

January 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm
(493) Gareth says:

Hey all

Was on Illovex sr 150 (efexcor generic) for a month, really didnt agree with me so decided to take myself off….. NOT Cool. Its been about 3 weeks now and it hasnt gotten any bettter. Still Taking Wellbutrin 150. How long will these withrawal symptoms continue. Cant take it any more.

February 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm
(494) Dave says:

I’ve been on Effexor XR for about 7 months and recently I had to cut cold turkey because I lost my medical insurance and couldn’t afford the COBRA premium. I was taking 150 mg and stopped six days ago. I first noticed the side effects on the second day when I was in a cafe and the light from the outside caused caused extreme discomfort to my eyes. After the second morning it was on – constant “brain fizzies, flu-like symptoms (diareaha, nausea, headaches, etc.), crazy dreams and most bizarre sudden crying fits (lucky I’ve been alone most of the time else people would probably think I’m crazy).

Anyway the brain fizzies (most annoying) have been getting better recently though for some reason smoking makes them really bad so I’ve had to severely cut down/quit. Today I was hit with my second migraine in my life that sent me to my bed with a black shirt to cover any ray of light. I also was taking 300 mg. Wellbutrin and recently reached the end of my bottle so yesterday I started splitting my last four into 2 150 mgs.

I don’t know what to say, this sucks big-time and hopefully things will get better. I probably should see my psychiatrist but I can’t afford it so I’ve resorted to dealing with it on my own and the internet. Thank you for everyone’s comments. Also I heard fish oil and B Vitamins so I’ve been taking those, but I honestly doubt it’s helping out with anything.

February 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm
(495) Pamlynn NZ says:

Hello Everyone, my doc told me that Venlafaxine had less side effects than all the others. What a joke !!

I am about to start a slow withdrawal and reading all the posts, I wish I had come across this website sooner. I had a stomach flu a few months ago and couldn’t take my usual dose of 75mg as was thowing up and on 3rd day I had a hammer banging inside my head. It wasn’t brain shivers as I have experienced those. It was like a hmmer hitting metal, it started with 1 bang and then increased to 4 bangs at a time. Can you imagine that, I thought then this drug is far more dangerous than first thought. As soon as I took my dose it ceased within 15 minutes.

Good luck to everyone xxxxx

March 16, 2011 at 7:21 am
(496) CC says:

Hi everyone. I’ve come across your forum about Venlafaxine or Efexor which is its trade name I think. I live in the UK and I am so grateful to you all for listing your experiences with this horrible drug. My mum had a stroke 10 weeks ago and the doctors (without us knowing) put her on this antidepressant as it seems to be a routine thing to do over here for stroke patients. My mum is in a pretty bad way (paralysed down her right side) but in the first few weeks we still felt that mentally she was ‘in there’ although she couldn’t talk very well. We started noticing a change in her about 4 weeks ago when she was crying a lot and getting very anxious about things that weren’t happening. When we found out she had been put on this drug we weren’t happy to say the least. We have insisted they take her off them so we can assess whether it is the drug or her mental state deteriorating (vascular dementia). She had a terrible weekend-crying constantly, hallucinating, not sleeping at night, calling out in the night and not making any sense whatsoever. Now I’ve read your forum, I am wondering if they have taken her off the drug ‘cold turkey’ and I’m going to ask some more questions. The medical staff, they just pass it off as her being depressed and needing to be put back on them and almost disapproving of the decision we’ve made on Mum’s behalf. One nurse even said to me they had noticed she had got a lot worse since coming off the drug and they were going to get the doctor to try another anti depressant!! (I soon put a stop to that)
Not once have the medics said what the side effects or withdrawal symptons are, they just seem to think its a wonderful drug with hardly any side effects and ideal for anxiety! Maybe Mum’s withdrawal won’t be too bad as she has only been on them for about 5-6 weeks.
Thank you all again…the internet is a wonderful thing at times! xx

March 17, 2011 at 6:31 am
(497) Ken says:

I was on zoloft for fifteen years and went off cold turkey. I’m in my second week. The wiithdrawal symtoms are awful. I am having one strange one though that is totally different. Ive been having dreams of my wife Jeanne and our neighbor Lorraine wrestling each other topless. I always see my wife getting humiliated in the dream, and there’s always a bunch of men standing there watching. In the dream Lorraine is working her over and the men are cheering. and it bothers me tht the men might be getting turned on as they look at my wife’s bare breasts. Just the idea that there comparing them to Lorraine’s. I hope this goes away soon.

July 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm
(498) keith says:

Dude,

That has nothing to do with the drugs. I have had dreams like that before I ever started taking the meds. You are just aa normal closet pervert. (me to)

March 27, 2011 at 10:51 am
(499) Randy says:

I thank everyone for the sharing of their stories. I had been off anti depressants for a couple of years. I got cancer and the Doctor said I should get on them till the cancer is over to help with the severe depression. I did. I don’t believe it ever helped much. If you read RayPeat.com you’ll get a good idea about what anti depressants are all about. bottom line: Money.
I have gradually decreased each dose by 37.5 from 225mg. My doctor said do each step down for at least 3 weeks. After each step down I do feel the electrical type thingies for a couple of weeks. I have a lot of brain fog and not being able to organize anything. Very low energy. Can’t seem to get my life together. I do believe some of this is from my discovery of low Thyroid. So, I’m not sure which syptoms are from what problem. I’m recovered from cancer, I’m starting to get my thyroid looked at and blood tests for that. and I’m coming off of this Effexor. I’m really tired of not being able to function well. Two more weeks at 37.5 and I’ll be off Effexor. I do believe the easier softer way is to go off gradually. I’ll never again take anti depressants. I’d rather be depressed than have all these other weird symptoms. Randy

March 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm
(500) Eunice says:

I am withdrawing from Citalopram. I having been weaning off I on 5mg, every other day, it’s been about a week. I am crying so often, I think I am going nuts. I am determined to get off the pills. I have no sexual urges, I feel like a robot on the medication, maybe should have tried to find another way to deal with my depression. I am paying for it now. Once I conquer the withdrawal, I am never doing the pills again.

April 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm
(501) carol says:

Wow I am so glad to hear I am not alone. I have been taking this drug for 10 years and have gained 100 pounds. This drug is believed to be the problem of my weight gain. Going off has been hell this week. I have been tapering off for months but no-one explained what this was going to be like. I hope I am going to be able to continue working. My husband is on it too and wants to get off it but omg how could two of us go thru this.

May 3, 2011 at 5:10 am
(502) LL says:

Hello everyone. My advice would be to NEVER go off these drugs cold turkey. The tapering is crucial. Your brain and your body need to adjust to a smaller dose very slowly. I, too, have been through the hell of cold turkey, and even though I’m still not 100% to my old self, I’m better then in early WD, and have no doubt that healing is just a matter of time. You may try visiting this site if you needed support and advice about tapering. Take care everyone!

http://SurvivingAntidepressants.org

May 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm
(503) Seasons says:

Interesting, I recently found SurvivingAntidepressants.org. They seem to be a group of intelligent people who, while in the thick of things, are compassionate and caring. I’m learning a lot there.

May 16, 2011 at 9:30 am
(504) Sandra says:

I’ve finally gotten off Effexor through gradual withdrawal – 5mg decreases at 2 week intervals. Dosages were prepared for me by a compounding pharmacy. The last dosage was 5mg and then cold turkey. For the first few days I still had severe brain zaps, nausea, etc., but these tapered off. It took approximately 2 weeks for these symptoms to finally disappear. 3 months later and the symptoms have not returned.
It is extremely dangerous to go cold turkey from even the lowest conventional dosage of 37.5mg due to the possibility of seizures and suicidal thoughts, not to mention extreme brain zaps/shivers.
I contacted the largest law firm in this area about a class action suit and was advised this could not be pursued. If anyone else success in this area, I’d be onboard.

June 9, 2011 at 2:31 am
(505) Glitch says:

I have been on Effexor from 37.5 mg per day upwards to 300mg over the past 7 years. Planning a suicide was what led me to look for help oh so long ago. In the past 2 years, I have cut myself on a couple of occasions, repeatedly punched myself in the legs when times got tough, and on two seperate occasions actually wrote suicide notes and took pictures of the damage I had done to myself. In the past 2 months it has become obvious to me that anti-depressants don’t work. Effexor was not my first but it has been my longest. Prior to beginning ADs, I had never hurt or mutilated myself. So last month I decided that enough was enough and chose the route of withdrawing myself from the drug completely. Following what I thought to be a reasonable WD schedule I am now at day 4 of zero Effexor. I have read alot of the posts and many refer to things like “brain shivers” “brain shocks” and other similar terminology. I suffer from this but until today did not realize it was a common side effect of Effexor. In the past there were days when i was late (8hrs or more) taking my dosage or missed it entirely. The brain buzzes as I think of them would begin and would remain until I took a dose.

To be continued next post as only allowed 2000 chars

June 9, 2011 at 2:33 am
(506) Glitch says:

I describe my brain buzzes like this. I don’t have to do anything at all, I don’t have to move my head or stand up suddenly or turn around or spin etc for my symptoms to happen. It is like a buzzing or “zzzt” sound that occurs at teh base of skull directly behind my ears. It is quick and usually buzzes twice .. “zzt zzt” and then is gone. I don’t feel dizzy, I don’t feel disoriented and I don’t feel nauseous. I have tried focusing my eyes on an object while the buzzing is occuring but I notice nothing different in my sight. I cannot predict when the buzzes will happen or how frequently or how many times they will occur in a row. They just happen. Day 2 and day 3 were worse than today has been so I am hopeful they will pass.

Another side effect I am having is weepiness. Out of blue tears suddenly well up in my eyes and threaten to over flow. Sometimes I can control, like I just did two seconds ago, and sometimes I cannot. When the weepiness is gone, I feel perfectly emotionally normal. Not sad, happy or any other extreme emotion, just normal. This is scary. To go from neutral to weepy to neutral in the span of a few seonds.

One other side effect I have noticed is an internal shivering, centered in my chest/diaphragm. It has happened 3 times since WD and always while i was in a conversation with someone. It does not happen when I am alone and I do not believe it is noticeable externally. Ok, I just started this type of shivering while typing this so add that to my list. I can only describe it as an internal tightening of my diaphragm, sort of like clenching and unclenching of the muscle.

final installment to follow

September 28, 2011 at 6:26 am
(507) Cher says:

I am glad to see you describe the zzzt! zzzt! I had gotten them in three’s. I called it a brain bump, but when the zzt happens, my eyes do it also. I also had headaches, nausea, vomiting and can’t stop crying and the psycho dreams. I haven’t cried in years. I wonder what causes the brain to do the zzt? I hope that someone will research this. I bet this product will be pulled off the market in the future. Are we guinea pigs?

June 9, 2011 at 2:35 am
(508) Glitch says:

Other than that, I am sleeping fine, energy level is normal though sometimes I feel I have to concentrate on walking at a normal pace and not allowing myself to walk slowly or lethargically. My appetite has not changed and I have no suffered any weight gain or loss.

I want to know what it feels like to have honest emotions again. To feel without the dampening of ADs or whatever it is they do. I am scared that the side effects may not go away after all I have read today but I am hopeful they will. I do not ever want to be on ADs again or any other form of mood altering medication.

To those of you out there going through WD, you are not alone as I myself have just discovered. Continue in your struggle to free yourself from the chains that the pharmaceutical (sp?) companies and mis informed doctors have shackled us with.

June 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm
(509) ms_pw says:

First, I must state that I am not a licensed professional and do not recommend changing any drug treatment without the explicit instruction of a doctor. This information is personal. I am telling it as it happened to me.

I want to let everyone know there is a simple, easy way to come off of SSRIs. I had a terrible nightmare of a time over several months trying to come off 100mg/day of Zoloft after 5 years. It almost killed me.

Then I went to my doctor about it, who is just a GP/GYN, and he prescribed me Bupropion (generic Wellbutrin), which is the oldest anti-depressant on the market, with LOTS of clinical studies. It does not work on serotonin, the precursor for many neurotransmitters, but only dopamine and norepinephrine. It can be intolerable to some who have manic episodes so this must be done under the supervision of a licensed professional.

I titrated bupropion up from 25mg once a day, to 100 mg 3x a day within a couple of weeks. Then I stayed on it for a couple of weeks, and began titrating off Zoloft, by 25 mg every 5 days. I had practically NO WITHDRAWALS! I was off 100 mg a day of Zoloft within a month and then came off the Wellbutrin w/o any side effects at all.

I assume Big-Pharma doesn’t want people to know about this because they make so much money off of keeping people addicted to it. I have never read this anywhere, nor can I find anything about this online. Its a secret I want out of the bag.

This is BIG NEWS for those of us who’ve suffered terribly from the side-effects of anti-depressants and could not get off of them without destroying their lives.

If you are reading this, spread it to any discussion sites on the subject you can find, This needs to get out.

Better health for all!

July 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm
(510) DT says:

Thank you, I’m going to run this by my doctor and also my holistic health provider. My switch about a year and a half ago from Prozac to Effexor wasn’t a very smooth transition and it scared me- I wasn’t sure I needed to go to the ER. I have been wanting to remove the Effexor for awhile now- I’m in a good place emotionally and am learning how to recognize stress in my body and have acquired some healthy ways to care for myself. I no longer want to be dependent on something that makes me feel worse than ever if I’m without it. I’m no longer willing to line the pockets of greedy pharmaceutical and to risk the future quality of my life to God knows what. Dealing with the cause and not the symptom from here on out! Also am looking at supporting me through this with SMAE.

August 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm
(511) Christine says:

For anyone suffering from SSRI withdrawal I have a suggestion take omega3 fish oil capsules and Turmeric capsules daily also eat Indian food which contains turmeric, I am not kidding this helped me tremendously, takes away the depressive feelings and the dizziness. I was taking 20mg celexa then tapered to 10mg, then 5mg felt horrible after I stopped then noticed after eating indian food my mood lifted so now taking capsules in the morning and eating indian food a feww times a week, I know this sounds crazy but it has worked for me, Omega 3 is very important too, hope it works for someone else!

August 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm
(512) JRS says:

I’m on day 6 of Lexapro withdrawl after having taken it for over 6 years. First 3-4 days of discontinuation were great, euphoric and lots of energy. Day 5 was a game changer, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, scatterbrain, jittery, etc. I was virtually fully incapacitated. Took B-complex, multivitamin, and Omega-3 before bed last night and felt considerably better this morning. Wondering how much longer this is going to last though, my GP says up to 2 weeks. Never again, SSRI’s are the devil.

September 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm
(513) Jerry says:

I was put on efexor 10 years ago and to be honest I think it ruined my life. I became aggressive to the point of losing two jobs and a marriage. I am now down to 17mg day but have been checked in to a rehab for 2 months to recover from the persisting w/d effects. I have pains in my knees so intense that I can barely walk. I am taking 15mg remeron and a small dose of sleeping pills otherwise I can’t sleep. The company who markets this drug are blatantly dishonest regarding its addictive problems and crazy withdrawal problems. By the way don’t mix efexor with alcohol!

September 10, 2011 at 9:23 am
(514) cheryl says:

I have been on Effexor-xr for 14 yrs …i ran out for 2 days when I forgot to refill my script and had bad withdrawl sysptoms…this past week there had been a change in my prescription plan , unbeknownst to me, and when I went to get my refill was told I needed prior autho from my Dr….ok,no problem. What I wasn’t told was that the Dr faxes the pharmacy and insurance company but has to wait for a response from my insurance before they will fill it…ok so there is day one of zaps and nausea followed by vomiting…after several calls ,mind you in a crying, crazed state of mind, to my Dr and the pharmacy the Dr finally encountered someone at the pharmacy and insurance company that took my pain and withdrawl seriously and finally got me back on track. This was, however, after 48 hrs of not being able to keep down a sip of water or bite of a stale cracker and had dry heaves and vomiting so severe that I didn’t even have any bile left in my system. My 3 teens thought I was losing my mind and were a bit afraid to come near me due to the mood swings and anything they said reduced me to sobs.My co workers were afraid I was going to be hospitalized because I am never one to miss work even when I have migraines and missed 2 days of work. My mom picked up my script that the pharmacy put a rush on and ,glad to say that I feel back to normal( well ,as normal as I can be!)…

September 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm
(515) barb says:

I just want my Brain back can anyone tell me are these brain shivers forever ?? I tapered down from 150 to 37.5 took my last one 3 days ago and feel all the symtoms i read from you all .at least im not alone. i feel like im dying .
god help us.

September 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm
(516) Hopeful says:

I know what it is like to have the horrible withdrawals. A few years ago I missed taking Effexor 150mg for a day and a half because I needed to get a new prescription but was too busy with exams. It was brutal. I was originally put on SSRI’s for depression and anxiety, but I truly believe that the physician should have helped me deal with or even ask me about lifestyle. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I wasn’t eating well, I had a crappy job, bad relationship, etc. I should have dealt with those first before even thinking about drugs. it has been about 6 years now. I was taking Effexor XR 225 mg but I have begun to taper off. I tried a couple of years ago with no success. I got really emotional. I have been reading many posts about withdrawal and learned a few important lessons. I now realize that any irregularities that I am feeling are from the withdrawal, they are not me. I am also taking a number of supplements and I really believe they are helping me. I am taking “Udo’s 3-6-9 Omega Oil Blend” 3 tablespoons daily, a multivitamin, Vitamin D, B6, B12, Bcomplex, and calcium. I have had headaches and dizziness, but I also take ibuprofen and ginger for that. I went to 150mg Effexor for 2 days, then 75 for a day, then went off for 1 day but was super sick. I rethought my tapering. I stayed at 75mg for 2 weeks, and now have gone to 37.5mg. I have been on 37.5mg for 5 days and am doing fairly well other than headaches and dizziness. No brain zaps. I am more impatient than normal, but that should get better. I plan to stay at this for another 1.5 weeks and then go to 18mg or so. I will half that again for another 2 weeks, and keep doing that until I am off. I am so determined to do this. Effexor has made me feel emotionless and I hate taking a drug that I originally did not even need. Try the Udo’s Oil. It tastes bad, but it helps.

September 28, 2011 at 6:13 am
(517) Cher says:

I just got terminated from my position at Mayo Clinic Florida after 24 years of service. I was terminated two months before I could have gone out on disability with full medical benefits. I lost my insurance and couldn’t afford the $500.00 for the Effexor XR. My MD (upon my request) changed my meds to generic and not time released. This change still consumed most of my unemployment money. My daughter who is an RN told me that I needed to “get off of that stuff” because all I do is stay up all night and do nothing but sit in my chair, playing on my PC. OK, so when I miss one dose (highest dosage of Effexor taken with Welbutrin) I get severe headaches. It is like a bad tequila night. I can’t even read or move my eyes much due to the severe “sea-sickness”. It feel like my brain is trying to squeeze out thru any orifice (eyes,ears, nose, etc). The headaches are much like a bad hangover (I haven’t had tequila in over 20 years but it is something that I haven’t forgotten). I think I even had low grade temperature. I recall feeling something like a bump inside my head that usually comes in threes and my eyes shimmy. I have also vomited. On the up side, I have never slept so much in my life. Unfortunately the depression came back, tears, boo-hoo and getting angry and hurt with loved ones. I went back on the lowest dosage of the generic Effexor and the physical symptoms subsided within a couple of days. Those headaches and nausea were horrific. The lowest dose does not keep me from crying. I have lost my job, car, home, and now because of this withdrawal issue, my family thinks that I should not be around my adorable grandchildren. I am so sad as they are so dear to me. I am a MESS. The physical symptoms have happened about three times now. I could not make it beyond five days. Is there a possibility that the withdrawal can cause fluid on the brain?

October 7, 2011 at 2:25 am
(518) Leah says:

I have been on Effexor for about 5 years. When I said I was going to come off them my psych said ok its your choice. So I stopped cold turkey once – mainly because I forgot to pick up script and then was too sick to get out to get it filled. I was very very sick for days – sweats, nightmares, flu symptoms, nausea it was horrific. I felt I had been through so much of the withdrawl that I didnt want to give up but it go to about the 5th day or so and I was so sick I was desperate for the feverishness and night terrors to stop that I went back on them and felt so regretful but relieved that I was able to stop the pains. I then started a staged reducing plan which I agreed with my psych how to do it better then cold turkey but he had and has no idea the agony my body has been going through to come off them. He suggested that the last dose could be taper every other day at 75mg. This was sending my mood and emotions up and down on a rollarcosting. I was physically very unwell. I was begining to get very scared that I had some kind of serious illness – extreme bone pain, exhaustion, unable to sleep, nightmares when I did sleep, flu symptoms, awful migranes. When i told him this was happening he said I must just be unusually sensitive to them…….

October 7, 2011 at 2:27 am
(519) Leah says:

….reading these posts doesnt seem like I am all that unusual at all. It was only when a nurse intervened after seeing how sick it was making me and told me there was a smaller dose I could be on to make the last bit of withdrawl more balanced. I asked why the psych never mentioned that to me or new about the smaller dose the reply again was you must just be sensitve to it and normally its when people start the meds they start on a smaller dose and its increased from there…. why then is it not the same in reverse??! When I say I have read things on the internet about bad withdrawls and side effects the answer is always thats because people only post bad news and bad experiences online. If they had a good experience with it they wouldnt be bothered to be online looking for information or posting about it. I disagree – if I had found a wonder drug or a drug that worked really really well for my depression I would be online writing about it – telling people in amazement how a drug I had taken had worked and recommend it to others….

October 7, 2011 at 2:30 am
(520) Leah says:

…..Its very normal for psychologists to think medication is ‘the norm’ it is their job after all. But taking them is tampering with your internal structure and to ‘try’ people on them in the hope they might help is a gamble which nobody but the person ingesting the ‘give these a try’ meds looses in the end. Death and withdrawls and side effects can always be put down as symptoms of the mental disorder of the patient. Kind of wipes most of the responsibilty away that way. I am sure they are great for some people but as a person is ill enough to take them and be monitored when starting them equally they should be monitored when withdrawing – even if that means hospital admission. That way withdrawl effects would be known and observed not experienced alone at home whilst trying to be well or maintain wellness. The response is always stay on them until life is going well then when you taper off them when you are well you wont even notice because you have a good life by then…….. yea right. Withdrawls are going to happen when you withdraw from a medication not magically not happen because you are ‘cured’ and well. Its a gamble and one which should only be taken in a fully supportive and caring and monitored environment – which unless you have mega bucks is not likely to be happening so unlike when drug addicts withdraw from their drugs of choice that can happen in a medical environment. ‘Users’ of anidepressents/anti anxiety meds are isolated and mostly unsupported in their withdrawls of their medication of ‘choice’. …

October 7, 2011 at 2:33 am
(521) Leah says:

I want to be able to be without venlafaxine so I can work on getting well and staying well without them so that I am not knocked down once things are well and I want to withdraw. I dont want to work hard to achieve wellness only to have to suffer again for it. I am glad to have read other peoples experiences. I hope if anyone reads mine it helps them. I am nearly there being off them and I am so glad that I have stuck out coming off them. I dont want to have to go through this again. I will take on the hassel of making myself exercise and eat well to keep ontop of my mood over the hassel of medication and its complications any day now. Antidepressants will never cross my lips again instead I will drag my body to exercise instead of sit down and wait and hope on the magic of a pill. I say that now….. but when you are so so low you are willing to try anything to get better…. hence why nobody in their ‘right mind’ in more ways then one would take these meds.

October 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm
(522) Jimbo says:

I been on and off of a variety if anti-depressants / anxiety drugs for about 2 years (under the care of a psychiatrist). We have been tweaking the meds trying to find the bet drug/combination with varying levels of success. I have never had anything but mild discontinuation issues when changing drugs, usually lasting less than a day or so, regardless of the dosage.

I have been on Effexor XR 225mg for about 6 months, and this controlled my anxiety very well. Unfortunately the side effects, although not particularity severe individually, became intolerable when taken together. These were:

* Lack of sexual desire
* Excessive sleeping and napping
* Constant yawning

With the advice of my doctor I have been tapering off (225mg -> 150mg/2weeks -> 75mg/2weeks -> nothing). I am on day 5 of no Effexor and have had these symptoms in order of severity:

* Dizziness
* Brain zaps (mild but annoying and the most noticeable)
* Several episodes of irrational anger
* Inappropriate and excessive emotionalism (weepiness)
* Headache

(continued)

October 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(523) Jimbo says:

(continuation)

To combat these things I have taken the following;

* Omega-3 fish oil
* Ibuprofen
* Medical cannabis
* Wellbutrin

I have heard that the fish oil helps with the zaps but haven’t noticed it. Some studies indicate that anti-inflammatories might interfere with the operation of the drug and *possibly* withdrawal symptoms (if so I don’t notice that either). Cannabis has been very helpful, but probably mostly from being relaxed, and there seems to be no effect on the symptoms. The Wellbutrin was prescribed in combination with the Effexor and I am still taking it (150mg/day)

Given my history I believe I am well able to tolerate SSRI’s. Also I believe the Wellbutrin (or other SSRI) helps mitigate discontinuation syndrome as some of the literature suggests – and I expect withing a week or so most of the side effects will be gone. Regardless it seems ridiculous that discontinuation 1) lasts so long 2) is virtually ignored by doctors and 3) is so severe. I find it impossible to believe that these symptoms didn’t occur in clinical trials, but apparently if no one dies or is seriously injured then the drug is allowed to go to market.

I’ll report back in a few weeks or so but anyone reading this who is contemplating starting Effexor should reconsider, and if taking it now should get on a taper program. From all the posts here it appears that with very few exceptions Effexor is not worth the side affects or discontinuation effects.

November 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(524) Joanna says:

The brain shivers as it’s been called here was my first side effect. Every time I blink is sounds like steel doors crashing shut in my head. It actually interferes with my hearing. I recently lost over 150lbs and clearly I was over medicated. I missed one dose of 150mgs by 90 minutes and my world began spinning. Almost like the feeling of movement would happen after I had already moved. I’m on day 3 of dropping 37.5MHz after 11 years of great success. The past 6 years I have been on 300mgs daily. Because of my size it was clear I needed a dose outside the parameters. I’ve always had chills without being cold and a decade of excessive sweating. Other than flu symptoms and some incongruent reactions to the way I feel, I’m not ready to check myself in just yet.

December 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm
(525) Jennifer says:

I’m 3 weeks into going cold turkey off 225mg every day for over 10 years (I’m only 30, which I think goes to show how fast some doctors are to prescribe this drug) It wasn’t an intentional decision, my boss insisted I work late on the evening my med review was due at the local surgery so I had to miss it and couldn’t pick up a new prescription (getting an appointment out of working hours is ridiculously difficult) I thought I had got off pretty lightly with the withdrawal symptoms but this week I’ve had terrible nausea and stomach cramps and have developed numbness in the little finger of my left hand. Just hoping this will pass soon as I have had to take a couple of days off work sick because of how ill I have felt which hasn’t gone down well at all with my unsupportive boss….

January 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm
(526) Sara says:

Try this site – very helpful and I highly recommend it.

http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/

February 12, 2012 at 8:19 pm
(527) Guest says:

I hate what I am going through right now. I finished my effexor on December 24, 2011, after tapering down with my doctor’s support for 3 1/2 months. I have experienced all of the side effects that I have seen posted here. I am so angry about this! If only I had known – I never would have gone on effexor. My anxiety is out of control and I have had to take lorazepam this week because I’m just freaking out all the time. It’s like little monsters have taken over my brain and I can’t think straight.
Just needed to vent to people who understand me because I feel like no one in my life right now is getting how hard this is. They are trying – but they just don’t get it.
Thanks for reading.

March 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm
(528) Rebecca Smith says:

THIS IS WHY I HATE DRUG COMPANIES. They lie and lie and lie. They claim anti-depressants are NOT addictive, but boy oh boy, hell yes they are VERY PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE.

HAVEN’T YOU GUYS HEARD? AFTER ALL THE COMPLAINTS OF HORRIBLE WITHDRAWALS (ESPECIALLY FOR EFFEXOR) THEY HAVE DISCOVERED A NEW SYNDROME!!! (I am not even making this up)

IT’S CALLED ‘SSRI DISCONTINUATION ‘SYNDROME’

Can you believe that crap? OH YEAH, I see it directly below as a ‘related article’ – isn’t that a crappy way of saying WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS?

OH excuse me, what are the withdrawal symptoms for narcotic pain medications? Body aches, joint pain, flu like symptoms, sneezing, severe stomach pain/cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, weakness, fatigue, depression, insomnia, anorexia, trembling…..lasts 3 to 5 days.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS FOR
SSRI DISCONTINUATION SYNDROME ?? THE SAME only WORSE and even more symptoms like what many people call BRAIN ZAPS, BRAIN BLASTS, ELECTRIC SHOCKS. AND CAN LAST FOR MONTHS !!

THANKS PHARMACEUTICA !! For giving me something horribly addictive, that originally cost me $1,500 a month, and doesn’t even make me ‘high’ !!

March 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(529) Michelle R. says:

Not sure how to post..

About eight months ago I suffered a severe near deadly bout with Serotonin Syndrome after being massively overdosed by my psychiatrist. I am on the road to recovery and it is extremely slow…I still have problems with muscle pain, movement, feeling overly emotional and also feeling like I can’t swallow…I was wondering if anyone else had this annoying nagging feeling? I have a hard time eating some days because it is fairly difficult but it has improved somewhat in the last month..yay! I am unfortunately suffering from protracted drug withdrawal and it could take up to another year before I feel like I did before I ever started this gawd awful journey. Psychiatry is not the answer nor are pills…I am learning to deal with this through cognitive behavioural therapy and yoga, all I want is my life back!

March 12, 2012 at 4:28 am
(530) Hayden says:

I’ve been on fluoxetine (Prozac) for several years and decided to come off them. As I didn’t think there were supposed to be any side effects, I just stopped taking them. How wrong I was!

The first couple of weeks were fine. I actually thought, “hey, I’m feeling really good!” Then the nausea hit. And the stomach pain that had me on the floor screaming for help. I’ve been vomiting, had diarrhoea, dizziness and getting REALLY angry over the smallest things. I hope that it ends soon. I have never felt so ill in my life.

April 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm
(531) Pristiq100 ex user says:

This site has been extremely helpful to me. 3rd day off Pristiq 100 cold turkey. Joint pain horrendous. Zzzts annoying! Nausea, atleast im not eating, maybe i’ll lose some of the weight pristiq helped me put on!

Had a panic attack/cry last night but other than that emotionally im ok. Just these physical symptoms.

Trying some of the naturopathic remedies, and maybe Ion Cleanse, Infared sauna. Will make my head worse but anything to get it out of me asap!

Thankyou for those who have given support to others on here, and updated to let us know when the symptoms start subsiding. Really is a huge support.

April 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(532) Richard says:

I was on Venlafaxine for years for Nueropathy and decided to take myself off it because of the side effects. Going from the high doses to 37.5mg does was EASY compared to getting completely off of it. It has taken me five months of reducing the little balls inside the capsules one or two a day. I have had to stop at a level and stay there for days on end until everything stabalized. It has been a week since I took my last tiny little piece of Effexor and I still have all the physical problems everyone else reports, but at least the psychological issues are gone. I can deal with the physical but the psychological are too much for me. I take Oxycodone, small doses, for the pain, but there was nothing I could take when I felt like jumping off a bridge. I have reduced the Percocet to about half of what I was taking and I hope to be off everything by summer. The drug companies have a racket going by giving us drugs with so many side effects that we end up taking five other drugs just to deal with them. I’ve lost 60lbs over the last six months by cutting all processed surgars out of my diet; basically started eating healthy and moving a little more. I’ve gone from 9 different drugs a day to just hypertension meds and we are reducing them as my weight falls off. There is a lot to be said for keeping the crap out of our bodies. Not there yet but working on it and feeling MUCH better. Good luck everyone, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel ISN’T a train.

April 17, 2012 at 5:01 am
(533) Michelle says:

I have just stopped taking effexor fx after reducing the dosage over 3 weeks and I am really angry at the dr who prescribed it to me!!!!! I have taken anti depressants for over 10 years and this tablet I believe is poison!!! If you are on it get off of it now but reduce the dosage slowly. Yes I have the brain zaps, slow speech, cannot get out of bed , day 5 and continuing!! If these leaves me with any permanent damage I will be suing this drug company. Take care everyone, there are better medications than Effexor fx.

April 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(534) Bonnie says:

My gyn dr. put me on this poison because I had hotflashes and nightsweats due to being taken off hormones. I have breast cancer that is hormone positive. I wish to GOD this quack would have told me about Effexor and the side effects. After gaining 20 lbs in month, brain swishing, bloating and many other side effects i cut my self back to where i was only taking a few grains a day. Quit 4 days ago. I can barely keep my vision focused, i as so hot that i sweat all day long at the office, can’t keep anything in my stomach and I am looking for a lawyer to sue the drug company and my ex-doctor.
Cancer is bad enough but to have to put up with all of this, let’s just say it wasn’t necessary.

April 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm
(535) Nancy says:

What a terrible drug to get off of. I was only one if for a few months, my Dr. thought it would help w/menopause symptoms/insomnia/SAD. I was on the 37.5 mg for a few weeks, then up to 75mg for 6 weeks. Then I decided it wasn’t helping/doing anything for me cept giving me worse insomnia and BRAIN ZAPS. I cut down to 37.5mg and gradually cut back to every other day. Well it’s been 1 week since I quit all together, and I’m still feeling “stoned” at times. Awful crap, I never should have agreed…
n

May 4, 2012 at 8:02 am
(536) debbie says:

I have been on anti-depressants for the last 20 years and am currently reducing venaflaxine to 37.5 per day. I have reduced my dose from 150 since October 2011. I have gotten through all the physical withdrawals and am now at the stage were I feel anxious, irritable, depressed…….
Can anyone offer advice how to get to the next stage and actually come off these tablets. I dont seem to hold out much hope now and dread actually reducing my current dose.

May 7, 2012 at 11:58 am
(537) cindy says:

im coming off this drug effexor, i have been having problems with it since i started this drug 10 months ago.. my doctor did not believe me when i was telling her the symtoms i was having. everything mentioned, but i was still taking it.. now im so sick and im taking prozac while coming off effexor, you would think that since im still on an ssr that it would not be so bad. ive had to take a leave of absence from work.. wht got my doctors attention was my family was getting worried and i brought my sister in with me. im 51 why would i make this up? what the hell is in this drug? 4 days now and last night i almost went to the er i was feeling so bad.. hurt all over, temp off balance, zzzt zzzt. but im getting off this crap

May 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(538) Carla says:

Well this is day 9 of not taking my Lexapro. I am not sad or depressed, but the side effects such as the zaps and nausea are unreal. I have resorted to being an exercise finatic because it is the only time I do not feel like bashing my head in. I could literally walk my little butt off all day long. I walk and jog and repeat over and over that this medication is NOT going to win. I hope this ends soon.

May 22, 2012 at 11:10 am
(539) Carla says:

Just wanted to let you all know that it is day ten and today is a lot better than it was yesterday. Those who are struggling keep faith and hang in there. It always gets worse before it gets better.

May 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm
(540) Susan says:

After reading the comments from others about detoxing from Effexor I am so angry. I had only been on this drug for 6 months. When I began the weaning process, admittedly without my Doc’s ok, I took one every other day for a week, then every 3 days for 2 weeks, now none for 10 days. I am so sick, but getting better. At first the nausea and nightmares were the worst. Then I couldn’t communicate at all, just stayed curled up on the couch. The “brain zaps” are HORRIBLE!!!! Now I can communicate, but am so teary, the “zaps” are continuing, I am getting hungry but cannot eat, popsicles are my saviors because I cannot drink, and I wonder how long others suffer from these side effects of quitting. I curse the Dr that got me going on these, and curse the drug company that makes them. Can anyone offer advice for someone at this stage of withdrawal? I just don’t even want to leave my house, I also just don’t want to be here!!!!

June 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm
(541) Jewell says:

I am coming off of 8 years on Effexor. I thought the pain I was experiencing was my Fibro in a flare. Now I’m not sure. Now many people know the agony of Fibro. I’m doing pretty well. I am taking several supplements.

June 6, 2012 at 8:18 am
(542) Carla says:

I experiended pain as well, but mine was due to the constant twitching and zaps. It is continual so it makes you sore as if you were constantly exercising. It does it when you are asleep as well. If you can push through these side effects it gets better. Right when I was at my snapping point within a day or so it got tons better. I did keep active and I went walking and jogging for about three hours a day. This is what made the entire thing tolerable and I felt better when I was active. The symptoms were much worse when I was sedentary. I was also pretty moody towards the end and when I noticed I was being horrible to those around me I went and walked some more. Hang in there!!

June 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(543) Chooky says:

Wow…I really sympathize with all my fellow Effexor users. I have a solution for you that worked wonders for me. I went to the pharmacy and asked for empty capsules. Then I split open the effexor xr capsule and counted out the grains in the 37.5 mg size. Approx., 105 grains are in there. For one week I added 75 grains, the next 50 grains, then 25 grains, etc., I noticed immediately when I took too many grains out and would just add some back the next day for a week. Don’t try to do this too fast or you will feel like crap. For the last 10 days I was taking 8 grains. I am now off it completely and the only residual symptom I have is weepiness. I was on Effexor XR for 12 years. I came off it before and had every symptoms described by the others users. This method works great. You can get on with your life with minimal upsets!

July 1, 2012 at 8:36 am
(544) Lori says:

I was on 225 mg. of Effexor XR and doing well for the first time in a long time. I was relieved to have finally found a medication and dosage that actually worked for me. I stayed there, happy as a clam, for several years. Then I changed jobs and insurance, and wound up with the med not being covered. My doc kept me in samples for as long as she could, but eventually they ran out, and we had to change my med.

Nothing else worked, and I started slowly spiraling downward into what would become my worst-ever bout with depression.

After going through multiple meds that didnít work, tons of therapy and seeing one incredibly moronic shrink, I found a new doctor who has been a blessing. I started seeing her after my one and only actual suicide attempt. She was adamant from the beginning that the most important thing was getting me out of that deep depression.

Because the Effexor XR had once worked, of course we went back to that. But now it did nothing. We kept hiking up the dosage, and Iíve been at 375 mg for close to two years, I think. I also take Wellbutrin, and within the last couple of months, we added Abilify. Finally, I feel like a normal, functioning person.

Because the Effexor seems to have caused some pretty annoying memory problems, Iím beginning to taper off. Itís just been a few days, but Iíve dropped the dosage down by 37.5 mg. I did have a migraine the other day ó worst one in years ó but I also didnít eat enough that day, and that alone has been enough to set one off for me in the past, so Iím not sure the Effexor withdrawal is to blame. Other than that, so far, so good.

I trust my doctor, and know that if I have trouble with withdrawal, she will help me through it. You canít expect to take an antidepressant and not have withdrawal symptoms. Personally, Iíd rather face this than the horror I went through without the help of Effexor. If it hadnít been for the idiotic health insurance industry, Iíd never have had this issue to begin with.

July 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm
(545) Rhombus says:

I tapered from Effexor about 8 years ago. It was really bad.

I had weird brain things, but it wasn’t anything like these brain shivers or the vertigo-like experiences others describe here. I had frequent blackouts (I don’t see anyone else mention them), but they were extremely brief. I’d maybe call them microabsences; I never fell over, fortunately, but it was very real. I tried to explain this to my psych, but since she’d never heard of this, I’m sure she probably thought I was imagining things. Then the situation got way worse and I couldn’t function at all.

My psych put me on Prozac to combat the withdrawal symptoms, and that worked well. I don’t have any long-term effects from the Effexor withdrawal, but I wouldn’t recommend the stuff to anyone. It surprises me that it’s still prescribed!

August 29, 2012 at 11:05 am
(546) joyce fokes says:

I would absolutely love to know if anyone has actually succeeded in getting off any antidepressant and not had to go back on it. All of these comments are of people trying to get off but not any that show they have been sucessfull in getting off of them and feeling good enough to stay off.

September 3, 2012 at 4:02 am
(547) Monica says:

I “tuned” in to find out when I might expect to be “normal” again, oh boy! I am now 7 days Effexor free. The first 3 days were the worst, my head felt like it was going to explode, and my eyes had so much pressure behind them that they almost hurt. Day 4 and 5 were better, mostly my head felt “swimmy” if that is even a word. The best way I can describe the sensations is…if you spin around in circles until your too dizzie to stand, then lay down on the ground with your eyes closed, if you can still feel the pressure in your head…well that’s what it felt like to go through withdrawls for the first 3 days. Then get up from the ground and look around, if the room seems to keep moving (or maybe it’s your brain that keeps moving) that was day 4 and 5. Now, day 7, my eyes are what bothers me the most. Even focusing on the screen long enough to read and type almost makes my eyes cramp. So, is there anyone that has had visual issues after coming off this stuff, and does it get better? Please say yes!! I am better and functioning, not great, but after days 1-3 I’m so thankful to just be able to do some laundry, drive a car, I can do most things as long as I don’t have to move my head a lot. But it is going to have to get better than this to be 100% again.

September 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm
(548) Joe says:

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Does anyone have a link to a site so that we can STOP efexor from being sold, so that we can prevent this drug from being prescribed. We know how bad it is, let’s STOP others becoming addicted.

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October 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(549) Joe says:

Visit this site theroadback.org
Don’t give up hope

December 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm
(550) genie says:

the hardest part about the medical obligations is that they tell you the possible side effects and symptoms while STARTING a new medication but not what happens to you when taken off it. i was given Ultram and Tramadol for severe nerve dmg and pain and it has worked for many years but now that i am bein taken off it i find out that it attaches to the body like HEROINE. great! i have the brain zaps, vomiting, pain, dehydration etc. it isn,t you it,s your body readjusting to not having the steady flow of the meds and it sucks. i hope you get through it.

December 26, 2012 at 8:23 am
(551) viktor says:

i had only mild headaches in this summer and i started in late august/early september with prozac. well, i even havent been taking the whole capsule, only a quarter of it – (simply i opened it and tipped out the powder of 20mg and divided it onto 4 smaller pieces and ate only the quarter – 5mg in the morning…), it was only 5 mg, and yet i have now the side effect and withdrawal symptoms when i didnt take prozac for 3 days. until now it was totally ok, and even helped me with many things, i felt good, very good at the beginning, first two months, so do not be fooled for the good feelings at the beginning, and tell the others that they should NEVER take any SSRI or SNRI depressant, and rather heal their depressions with orgasms, just breathing exercises, meditations, yoga, being in nature, with breathing mildly colder air, eating healthy food, vegetables and fruits, and drinking a lot of water or herbal teas. its much better to have positive outlook on life than to take ANY medicaments…!!! natural means is much more powerful for treating depressions than any antidepressants, cos antidepressants are the most prescribed drugs in the world and are enormous business for pharma companies, that is the only reason why they exist, doctors think mistakenly that they prescribe “cures” but they prescribe only DANGEROUS DRUG!!!! cont.

December 26, 2012 at 8:26 am
(552) viktor says:

continuing:

it is not a simple antibiotics!! if you are a doctor, be aware that i am not insane, I have an above average intellect, i am university graduated, i was happy, and all what made me feel sick is the drug you prescribe. it is the crime, look, how many people say that it was mild depression before they started and now, after they withdrawn, they feel terrible. doctors, pharmacists, you do not know what you are doing to people! stop it! stop prescribing the pills! do not hide behind the “scientific” opinion, just accept that these synthetic drugs are worse than any natural drug, and are extremely dangerous…and those, who know about it, how dangerous they are, they remain silent because being afraid to lose their jobs or being blackmailed by their colleagues paid by pharmaceutical corporations !! I took simple 5-10mg, and yet i have to go slowly down every day just a bit less of powder (mentioned above) than the day before. and yet i feel the side effect. anyone successfully wothdrawn for a long period over 2-3 months without withdrawal symptoms????! let me know…. on… vico@inbox.com…. thank you…any advice? i would be thankful….

February 7, 2013 at 6:08 am
(553) Lorena says:

It’s nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what you’re
talking about! Thanks

August 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm
(554) Debbie says:

I never knew that the ‘brain thing’ had a name—shivers. I used to call it a kind of ‘buzzing’ but didn’t know how else to explain it. I’ve been off my anti-depressant for years for all the reasons others have stated here and , no, I was not told about withdrawal symptoms. Took me at least a month or more to really shake them off.

March 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm
(555) Laura says:

While I have empathy for all those going through withdrawal, I have a hard time jumping on the bandwagon saying “Those doctors never told me about this!!” I’m sorry, but I think people need to take a little responsibility; just because a doctor suggests or prescribes a drug, whether it be a heart med, pain med, or “crazy” med, most people actually take the time ‘on their own’ to be informed of WHAT they are actually taking and the potential side effects, withdrawal, etc that can possibly be expected. We have been living in the “computer” age since the mid 1990′s, and if a person wants to find information on something, regardless of what that may be, they can look it up on a computer.
I’m sorry but I just don’t have empathy for someone who puts something blindly into their own body (for years no less), does nothing to inform themselves about WHAT they are actually putting into their body and the potential s/e’s, potential withdrawal sx’s (especially if they plan on taking it longer than several months) and then blames the “terrible doctor” who gave it to them. It’s time to take responsibility, it was not the doctor who literally threw the pill down their throat on a daily basis, it was you, the uninformed patient.

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